Date of this Version
Ofula, V.O., A.B. Franklin, J.J. Root, H.J. Sullivan, P. Gichuki, A. Makio, W. Bulimo, B.O. Abong'o, M. Muchai, and D. Schnabel. 2013. Detection of avian influenza viruses in wild waterbirds in the Rift Valley of Kenya using fecal sampling. Vector-Borne and Zoonnotic Diseases 13(6):394-400. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2011.0926.
Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus A/H5N1 has been reported in 11 African countries. Migratory waterbirds have the potential of introducing A/H5N1 into east Africa through the Rift Valley of Kenya. We present the results of a wild bird surveillance system for A/H5N1 and other avian influenza viruses based on avian fecal sampling in Kenya. We collected 2630 fecal samples in 2008. Viral RNA was extracted from pools of 3–5 fecal samples and analyzed for presence of avian influenza virus RNA by real-time RT-PCR. Twelve (2.3%) of the 516 sample pools were positive for avian influenza virus RNA, 2 of which were subtyped as H4N6 viruses. This is the first report of avian influenza virus in wild birds in Kenya. This study demonstrates the success of this approach in detecting avian influenza virus in wild birds and represents an efficient surveillance system for avian influenza virus in regions with limited resources.