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Seroprevalence Survey of Avian influenza A (H5) in wild migratory birds in Yunnan Province, Southwestern China

Hua Chang, Feiyan Dai, Zili Liu, Feizhou Yuan, Siyue Zhao, Xun Xiang, Fengcai Zou, Bangquan Zeng, YaTing Fan and Gang Duan*

  • * Corresponding author: Gang Duan

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

College of Animal Science and Technology of Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming, Yunnan 650201, China

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:18  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-18

Published: 3 February 2014



Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) is a highly contagious disease which is a zoonotic pathogen of significant economic and public health concern. The outbreaks caused by HPAIV H5N1 of Asian origin have caused animal and human disease and mortality in several countries of Southeast Asia, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. For the first time since 1961, this HPAIV has also caused extensive mortality in wild birds and has sparked debate of the role wild birds have played in the spread of this virus. Other than confirmed mortality events, little is known of this virus in wild birds. There is no report on the seroprevalence of avian influenza H5 infection in wild migratory birds in Yunnan Province. In this study we examined live wild birds in Yunnan Province for H5 specific antibody to better understand the occurrence of this disease in free living birds.


Sera from 440 wild birds were collected from in Kunming and Northern Ailaoshan of Yunnan Province, Southwestern China, and assayed for H5 antibodies using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assays.


The investigation revealed that the seroprevalence of avian influenza H5 was as following: Ciconiiformes 2.6%, Strigiformes 13.04%, Passeriformes 20%, Cuculiformes 21.74%, Gruiformes 0%, Columbiformes 0%, Charadriiformes 0% and Coraciiformes 0%. Statistical analyses showed that there was a significant difference of prevalence between the orders (P < 0.01). Specific avian influenza H5 antibodies were detected in 23 of 440 (5.23%) sera. Mean HI titer 23 positive sera against H5 were 5.4 log2.


The results of the present survey indicated that the proportion of wild birds had previously infected AIV H5 at other times of the year. To our knowledge, this is the first seroprevalence report of avian influenza H5 infection in wild migratory birds in China’ s southwestern Yunnan Province. The results of the present survey have significant public health concerns.

Seroprevalence; Avian influenza H5; Wild birds; Hemagglutination (HA) and hemagglutination inhibition (HI)