Surveillance for Avian Influenza Virus in Free-range Domestic Ducks in Benue State, NigeriaJolly Amoche ADOLE, Raphael OFUKWU, John IBU, Clement Adebajo MESEKO.
The natural reservoirs of avian influenza virus are aquatic waterfowls especially ducks. These birds on migration have the potential to transmit the virus to domestic birds and poultry on free range in Nigerian wetlands and fatal cases have been widely reported in Nigeria. There is huge loss of investment and the risks of human infection. However, there is paucity of information on the status of the disease in Benue State. This study was therefore designed to survey avian influenza virus in free-range domestic ducks in the Benue Basin. A total of 257 ducks were sampled from January 2016 to April 2017 in 3 Agro-ecological zones of the State. A combination of oropharyngeal and cloacal swab was collected from each duck. The Laboratory analysis was carried out using RT-PCR and virus isolation was attempted in 9-10 days old embryonated chicken egg. Both RT-PCR and virus isolation were negative for all the samples tested. This result shows that the burden of avian influenza viruses in free range domestic ducks in Benue State is not as high as previously assumed at the time of this study. Nevertheless, an enhanced and sustained surveillance study is necessary to rapidly detect the virus when it may be introduced in future and to identify critical elements of risk factors to mitigate transmission and spread of potential Avian Influenza.
Key words: Avian Influenza, Free-range, Domestic ducks, Benue State, Nigeria