Molecular and serological prevalence of influenza A viruses in poultry and poultry farmers in the Ashanti region, Ghana
For an analysis of the prevalence of influenza A viruses (IAVs) circulating in chickens and their farmers in the Ashanti region, Ghana, we examined 2,400 trachea and cloaca swabs (chickens) and 102 oropharyngeal swabs (farmers) by qRT-PCR. Sera from 1,200 (chickens) and 102 (farmers) were analysed for IAV antibodies by ELISA and haemagglutination inhibition (HI). Avian influenza virus (AIV) was detected in 0.2% (n = 5) of chickens but not farmers. Virus detection was more pronounced in the cloacal (n = 4, 0.3%) than in tracheal swabs (n = 1, 0.1%). AIV antibodies were not detected in chickens. Two farmers (2.0%) tested positive to human seasonal IAV H1N1pdm09. Sixteen (15.7%) farmers tested seropositive to IAV of which 68.8% (n = 11) were due to H1N1pdm09-specific antibodies. AIV H5- or H7-specific antibodies were not detected in the farmers. Questionnaire evaluation indicated the rare usage of basic personal protective equipment by farmers when handling poultry. In light of previous outbreaks of zoonotic AIV in poultry in Ghana the open human-animal interface raises concern from a OneHealth perspective and calls for continued targeted surveillance.