Serosurveillance on Poultry-Related Workers at Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza-Infected Farms/Slaughterhouse in Taiwan, 2017

DOI: 10.6525/TEB.202109_37(17).0001

Shin-Yi Lin1*, Ji-Rong Yang2, Shu-Zhen Hsu3, Yu-Ju Lin4, Tsung-Pei Tsou5, Ming-Tsan Liu2, Chang-Hsun Chen6

2021 Vol.37 NO.17

Correspondence Author: Shin-Yi Lin1*

  • 1Taipei City Nangang District Health Centers, Department of Health, Taipei City Government, Taiwan 
  • 2Center for Diagnostics and Vaccine Development, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan  
  • 3Institute of Preventive Medicine, National Defense Medical Center, Taiwan  
  • 4Taipei Regional Center, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan   
  • 5Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan
  • 6Taoyuan General Hospital, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan


        In order to investigate the extent and risk factors of avian-to-human transmission by highly-pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses, we conducted a nation-wide serological survey targeting poultry workers who exposed to HPAI in poultry farms and slaughterhouses outbreaks in 2017.
        A retrospective survey was conducted between January and April 2018. Trained interviewers surveyed the poultry workers with a questionnaire and collected their blood samples. A H5N8 virus strain A/goose/Taiwan/01003/2015 was selected as the representative antigen, and hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay was used to analyze serum samples. Presence of acute respiratory symptoms within 10 days after the last poultry exposure was also recorded by local health authorities.
        A total of 241 participants were enrolled and the majority were poultry farm (27.4%) or slaughterhouse (22%) workers. The mean age was 44.8 years, and 63.5% were male. Masks (88.4%) and gloves (85.9%) were the most commonly used personal protective equipment (PPE) at work. None of them had acute respiratory symptoms during the follow-up period. Six (2.5%), 85(35.3%) and 150 (62.2%) had HI titer of 1:40, 1:20 and ≦1:10, respectively. Workers with HI titer of 1:40 were less likely to wear masks at work (p = 0.02). 
        We conclude that the risk of avian-to-human infection of HPAI among poultry workers in Taiwan were low in 2017. Adherence to proper PPE use at work and annual seasonal influenza vaccination should be encouraged to minimize the risk of infection. Routine seroepidemiological survey among high-risk groups is of optimal importance.