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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Influenza A virus in backyard pigs and poultry in rural Cambodia

Osbjer, K.; Berg, M.; Sokerya, S.; Chheng, K.; San, S.; Davun, H.; Magnusson, U.; Olsen, B.; Zohari, S.


Surveillance of influenza virus in humans and livestock is critical, given the worldwide public health threats and livestock production losses. Livestock farming involving close proximity between humans, pigs and poultry is often practised by smallholders in low-income countries and is considered an important driver of influenza virus evolution. This study determined the prevalence and genetic characteristics of influenza A virus (IAV) in backyard pigs and poultry in Cambodia. A total of 751 animals were tested by matrix gene-based rRT-PCR, and influenza virus was detected in 1.5% of sampled pigs, 1.4% of chickens and 1.0% of ducks, but not in pigeons. Full-length genome sequencing confirmed triple reassortant H3N2 in all IAV-positive pigs and various low pathogenic avian influenza subtypes in poultry. Phylogenetic analysis of the swine influenza viruses revealed that these had haemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes originating from human H3N2 viruses previously isolated in South-East Asia. Phylogenetic analysis also revealed that several of the avian influenza subtypes detected were closely related to internal viral genes from highly pathogenic H5N1 and H9N2 formerly sequenced in the region. High sequence homology was likewise found with influenza A viruses circulating in pigs, poultry and wild birds in China and Vietnam, suggesting transboundary introduction and cocirculation of the various influenza subtypes. In conclusion, highly pathogenic subtypes of influenza virus seem rare in backyard poultry, but virus reassortment, involving potentially zoonotic and pandemic subtypes, appears to occur frequently in smallholder pigs and poultry. Increased targeted surveillance and monitoring of influenza circulation on smallholdings would further improve understanding of the transmission dynamics and evolution of influenza viruses in humans, pigs and poultry in the Mekong subregion and could contribute to limit the influenza burden.


low pathogenic; prevalence; reassortment; swine; transboundary zoonotic disease

Published in

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases
2017, volume: 64, number: 5, pages: 1557-1568

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Seng, Sokerya
Centre for Livestock and Agriculture Development (CeLAgrid)
Chheng, K.
National Institute of Public Health
San, S.
National Veterinary Research Institute (NaVRI)
Davun, H.
National Veterinary Research Institute (NaVRI)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences
Olsen, Björn
Uppsala University
National Veterinary Institute (SVA)

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