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Keywords:

  • Avian influenza;
  • antibodies;
  • ducks;
  • risk factors;
  • seroprevalence

Summary

Kathmandu, Nepal has been classified as a high-risk area for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) by the Nepali Government. While ducks have an important role in the transmission of avian influenza viruses (AIV), including HPAI, seroprevalence of antibodies to AIV in domestic ducks of Kathmandu has never been assessed. The objectives of this study were (i) to estimate the prevalence of seroconversion to AIV in domestic ducks in major duck-raising areas of Kathmandu and (ii) to assess the effect of age, sex, presence of swine and the number of ducks on the farm on the carriage of antibodies to AIV in these ducks. From April through July of 2011, a cross-sectional study was conducted and a total of 310 ducks in the major duck-raising areas of Kathmandu were sampled. The estimated prevalence of AIV antibodies was 27.2% [95% confidence interval (CI): 24.6–29.5]. Of 62 enrolled farms, 42% had at least one seropositive duck. Half of the enrolled farms also kept pigs of which 52% had at least one seropositive duck. Bivariate analysis indicated association between ducks' seroconversion to AIV and their age, sex and farm size. However, the final multivariable model, after controlling for clustering of ducks within farms, identified age as the only significant risk factor. Based on this model, ducks older than 1 year of age were more likely to be seropositive compared to ducks <6 months of age [odds ratio = 2.17 (1.07–4.39)]. These results provide baseline information about the AIV seroprevalence in domestic ducks in the major duck-raising areas of Kathmandu and identify a high-risk group that can be targeted in surveillance activities. Future studies should be conducted to differentiate the subtypes of AIV present among domestic ducks in Kathmandu, with particular interest in the presence of HPAI viruses.