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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Seroprevalence of avian influenza A (H5N1) virus among poultry workers in Jiangsu Province, China: an observational study

Xiang Huo1, Rongqiang Zu1, Xian Qi1, Yuanfang Qin1, Liang Li1, Fenyang Tang1, Zhibin Hu2 and Fengcai Zhu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Jiangsu Rd. 172#, Nanjing 210009, China

2 College of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Hanzhong Rd. 140#, Nanjing, China

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:93  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-93

Published: 18 April 2012



Since 2003 to 06 Jan 2012, the number of laboratory confirmed human cases of infection with avian influenza in China was 41 and 27 were fatal. However, the official estimate of the H5N1 case-fatality rate has been described by some as an over estimation since there may be numerous undetected asymptomatic/mild cases of H5N1 infection. This study was conducted to better understand the real infection rate and evaluate the potential risk factors for the zoonotic spread of H5N1 viruses to humans.


A seroepidemiological survey was conducted in poultry workers, a group expected to have the highest level of exposure to H5N1-infected birds, from 3 counties with habitat lakes of wildfowl in Jiangsu province, China. Serum specimens were collected from 306 participants for H5N1 serological test. All participants were interviewed to collect information about poultry exposures.


The overall seropositive rate was 2.61% for H5N1 antibodies. The poultry number was found associated with a 2.39-fold significantly increased subclinical infection risk after adjusted with age and gender.


Avian-to -human transmission of avian H5N1 virus remained low. Workers associated with raising larger poultry flocks have a higher risk on seroconversion.

Avian influenza; H5N1; Seroprevalence; Risk factors; Subclinical infection