Evidence for avian H9N2 influenza virus infections among rural villagers in Cambodia

Patrick J. Blair, Shannon D. Putnam, Whitney S. Krueger, Channimol Chum, Thomas F. Wierzba, Gary L. Heil, Chadwick Y. Yasuda, Maya Williams, Matthew R. Kasper, John A. Friary, Ana W. Capuano, Vonthanak Saphonn, Malik Peiris, Hongxia Shao, Daniel R. Perez, Gregory C. Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background: Southeast Asia remains a critical region for the emergence of novel and/or zoonotic influenza, underscoring the importance of extensive sampling in rural areas where early transmission is most likely to occur. Methods: In 2008, 800 adult participants from eight sites were enrolled in a prospective population-based study of avian influenza (AI) virus transmission where highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus had been reported in humans and poultry from 2006 to 2008. From their enrollment sera and questionnaires, we report risk factor findings for serologic evidence of previous infection with 18 AI virus strains. Results: Serologic assays revealed no evidence of previous infection with 13 different low-pathogenic AI viruses or with HPAI avian-like A/Cambodia/R0404050/2007(H5N1). However, 21 participants had elevated antibodies against avian-like A/Hong Kong/1073/1999(H9N2), validated with a monoclonal antibody blocking ELISA assay specific for avian H9. Conclusions: Although cross-reaction from antibodies against human influenza viruses cannot be completely excluded, the study data suggest that a number of participants were previously infected with the avian-like A/Hong Kong/1073/1999(H9N2) virus, likely due to as yet unidentified environmental exposures. Prospective data from this cohort will help us better understand the serology of zoonotic influenza infection in a rural cohort in SE Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-79
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infection and Public Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Avian
  • Cohort studies
  • Communicable diseases
  • Emerging
  • Influenza A virus
  • Occupational exposure
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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