Absence of neutralizing antibodies against influenza A/H5N1 virus among children in Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand.
BACKGROUND: Influenza A/H5N1 actively circulated in Kamphaeng Phet (KPP), Thailand from 2004 to 2006. A prospective longitudinal cohort study of influenza virus infection in 800 adults conducted during 2008-2010 in KPP suggested that subclinical or mild H5N1 infections had occurred among this adult cohort. However, this study was conducted after the peak of H5N1 activity in KPP. Coincidentally, banked serum samples were available from a prospective longitudinal cohort study of primary school children who had undergone active surveillance for febrile illnesses from 2004 to 2007 and lived in the same district of KPP as the adult cohort. OBJECTIVES: We sought to investigate whether subclinical or mild H5N1 infections had occurred among KPP residents during the peak of H5N1 activity from 2004 to 2006. STUDY DESIGN: H5N1 microneutralization (MN) assay was performed on banked serum samples from a prospective longitudinal cohort study of primary school children who had undergone active surveillance for febrile illnesses in KPP. Annual blood samples collected from 2004 to 2006 from 251 children were selected based on the criteria that they lived in villages with documented H5N1 infection. RESULT: No H5N1 neutralizing antibodies were detected in 753 annual blood samples from 251 children. CONCLUSION: During 2004-2006, very few subclinical or mild H5N1 infections occurred in KPP. Elevated H5N1 MN titers found in the adult cohort in 2008 were likely due to cross-reactivity from other influenza virus subtypes highlighting the complexities in interpreting influenza serological data.
Khuntirat, B; Love, CS; Buddhari, D; Heil, GL; Gibbons, RV; Rothman, AL; Srikiatkhachorn, A; Gray, GC; Yoon, I-K
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