Detection of A/H5N1 virus from asymptomatic native ducks in mid-summer in Egypt
In spite of all the efforts to control H5N1 in Egypt, the virus still circulates endemically, causing significant economic losses in the poultry industry and endangering human health. This study aimed to elucidate the role of clinically healthy ducks in perpetuation of H5N1 virus in Egypt in mid-summer, when the disease prevalence is at its lowest level. A total of 927 cloacal swabs collected from 111 household and 71 commercial asymptomatic duck flocks were screened by using a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Only five scavenging ducks from a native breed in three flocks were found infected with H5N1 virus. This study indicates that H5N1 virus can persist in free-range ducks in hot weather, in contrast to their counterparts confined in household or commercial settings. Surveillance to identify other potential reservoirs is essential.