Detection of influenza A virus from agricultural fair environment: Air and surfaces
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Agricultural fairs facilitate an environment conducive to the spread of influenza A virus with large numbers of pigs from various different locales comingling for several days (5-8 days). Fairs are also associated with zoonotic transmission of influenza A virus as humans have unrestricted contact with potentially infected swine throughout the fair's duration. Since 2005, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 468 cases of variant influenza A virus, with most cases having had exposure to swine at agricultural fairs. Many mechanisms have been proposed as potential direct and indirect routes of transmission that may be enhancing intra- and inter-species transmission of influenza A virus at fairs. This study examines airborne respiratory droplets and portable animal-care items as potential routes of transmission that may be contributing to enhanced viral spread throughout the swine barn and the resulting variant cases of influenza A. Air samples were taken from inside swine barns at 25 fairs between the years 2013 and 2014. Influenza A virus was detected molecularly in 11 of 59 (18.6%) air samples, representing 4 of the 25 fairs. Viable H1N1 virus, matching virus recovered from swine at the fair, was recovered from the air at one fair in 2013. During the summer of 2016, 75 of 400 (18.8%) surface samples tested positive for molecular presence of influenza A virus and represented 10 of 20 fairs. Seven viral isolates collected from four fairs were recovered from the surfaces. Whole genome sequences of the viruses recovered from the surfaces are >99% identical to the viruses recovered from individual pigs at each respective fair. The detection and recovery of influenza A virus from both the air and surfaces found within the swine barn at agricultural fairs provide evidence for potential viral transmission through these routes, which may contribute to both intra- and inter-species transmission, threatening public health. These findings reinforce the need for new and improved mitigation strategies at agricultural fairs in order to reduce the risk to animal and public health.
author list (cited authors)
Lauterbach, S. E., Wright, C. M., Zentkovich, M. M., Nelson, S. W., Lorbach, J. N., Bliss, N. T., ... Bowman, A. S.