Serological evidence of swine exposure to pandemic H1N1/2009 influenza A virus in Burkina Faso.
- Clinical and Applied Virology
Despite improvement of human and avian influenza surveillance, swine influenza surveillance in sub-Saharan Africa is scarce and pandemic preparedness is still deemed inadequate, including in Burkina Faso. This cross-sectional study therefore aimed to investigate the (past) exposure of pigs to influenza A viruses. Practices of people with occupational contacts with pigs and their knowledge on influenza A were investigated in order to formulate future prevention guidelines. In 2016-2017, pig nasopharyngeal swabs and sera were collected and screened for the presence of influenza virus by RT-PCR or of anti-influenza antibodies by competitive ELISA. Seropositive samples were further characterized in virus microneutralization assays against human and swine H1N1 virus strains. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from people with occupational contact with pigs and screened similarly. Demographic data as well as practices related to their profession were recorded. No influenza A virus was detected in nasopharyngeal swabs in humans (n = 358) or in pigs (n = 600). Seroprevalence in pigs reached 6.8 % (41/600) and seropositive animals were found in 50.0 % of extensive settings (10/20) and 19.0 % of (semi-)intensive farms (4/21). All positive sera reacted against the pandemic H1N1/2009 strain, while seropositivity against two Eurasian avian-like and one American swine H1N1 strains and individual titers were lower. These results suggested exposure to pandemic H1N1/2009 virus and cross-reactivity to other H1N1 strains. Farmers with higher frequency of contact to pigs, absence of protective equipment and lack of knowledge on zoonoses are likely key players in driving human-to-swine virus transmission.