Identification and characterization of influenza A viruses in selected domestic animals in Kenya, 2010-2012.
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BACKGROUND: Influenza A virus subtypes in non-human hosts have not been characterized in Kenya. We carried out influenza surveillance in selected domestic animals and compared the virus isolates with isolates obtained in humans during the same period. METHODS: We collected nasal swabs from pigs, dogs and cats; oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs from poultry; and blood samples from all animals between 2010 and 2012. A standardized questionnaire was administered to farmers and traders. Swabs were tested for influenza A by rtRT-PCR, virus isolation and subtyping was done on all positive swabs. All sera were screened for influenza A antibodies by ELISA, and positives were evaluated by hemagglutination inhibition (HI). Full genome sequencing was done on four selected pig virus isolates. RESULTS: Among 3,798 sera tested by ELISA, influenza A seroprevalence was highest in pigs (15.9%; 172/1084), 1.2% (3/258) in ducks, 1.4% (1/72) in cats 0.6% (3/467) in dogs, 0.1% (2/1894) in chicken and 0% in geese and turkeys. HI testing of ELISA-positive pig sera showed that 71.5% had positive titers to A/California/04/2009(H1N1). Among 6,289 swabs tested by rRT-PCR, influenza A prevalence was highest in ducks [1.2%; 5/423] and 0% in cats and turkeys. Eight virus isolates were obtained from pig nasal swabs collected in 2011 and were determined to be A(H1N1)pdm09 on subtyping. On phylogenetic analysis, four hemagglutinin segments from pig isolates clustered together and were closely associated with human influenza viruses that circulated in Kenya in 2011. CONCLUSION: Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 isolated in pigs was genetically similar to contemporary human pandemic influenza virus isolates. This suggest that the virus was likely transmitted from humans to pigs, became established and circulated in Kenyan pig populations during the study period. Minimal influenza A prevalence was observed in the other animals studied.
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