Horwood PF, Horm SV, Yann S, Tok S, Chan M, Suttie. Aerosol exposure of live bird market workers to viable influenza A/H5N1 and A/H9N2 viruses, Cambodia. Zoonoses Public Health. 2022 Nov 21
Live bird markets (LBMs) have been identified as key factors in the spread, persistence and evolution of avian influenza viruses (AIVs). In addition, these settings have been associated with human infections with AIVs of pandemic concern. Exposure to aerosolised AIVs by workers in a Cambodian LBM was assessed using aerosol impact samplers. LBM vendors were asked to wear an air sampler for 30 min per day for 1 week while continuing their usual activities in the LBM during a period of high AIV circulation (February) and a period of low circulation (May). During the period of high circulation, AIV RNA was detected from 100% of the air samplers using molecular methods and viable AIV (A/H5N1 and/or A/H9N2) was isolated from 50% of air samplers following inoculation into embryonated chicken eggs. In contrast, AIV was not detected by molecular methods or successfully isolated during the period of low circulation. This study demonstrates the increased risk of aerosol exposure of LBM workers to AIVs during periods of high circulation and highlights the need for interventions during these high-risk periods. Novel approaches, such as environmental sampling, should be further explored at key high-risk interfaces as a potentially cost-effective alternative for monitoring pandemic threats.
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