Detection of antibodies to H5 and H9 subtypes of influenza viruses in wild birds in Zaria, Nigeria
Avian influenza has impacted negatively on poultry production in Nigeria. The aim of this study was to determine the status of avian influenza virus (AIV) antibodies in wild birds to provide early warning of an outbreak. One hundred and forty-six sera from five different species of wild birds were tested for antibodies to avian influenza A viruses (H5 and H9) using enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and haemagglutination inhibition (HI) tests. An overall seroprevalence of 3.4% (5/146) was recorded in the study area. Seroprevalence of 6.67% (2/30) was recorded in speckled pigeons (Columba guinea) and Village weavers (Ploceus cucullatus) respectively and 3.33% (1/30) in Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis). No antibodies were detected in laughing doves (Spilolepia senegalensis) and African silver bill (Euodice cantans). The serological detection of AIV subtypes H5 and H9 by HI showed the exposure of these birds to the two subtypes. The result from this study indicates evidence of the presence of H5 and H9 AI viruses in wild birds in Zaria, Kaduna State. Therefore, comprehensive surveillance of influenza A involving wild birds’ population and H5 as well as H9 subtype is recommended. This is necessary in order to know the actual status of these strains in the poultry population in Nigeria in view of their zoonotic and economic importance.