Evaluation of the immune status of birds and domestic and companion animals for the influenza A virus in Eastern Saudi Arabia

Background and aim: Influenza type A virus infections are still one of the major concerns for the health of humans and various species of domestic and companion animals. Wild birds play an essential role in the transmission cycle of the virus. Regularly monitoring the spread of the virus is a significant step in its mitigation. Highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses, including H5N1 and H5N8, have been reported in birds in the Arabian Peninsula, including Saudi Arabia, in recent decades. This study aimed to evaluate the immune status of birds, domestic and companion animals for Influenza type A virus in Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.

Materials and methods: We collected 195 serum samples from dromedary camels, sheep, goats, native breed chickens, doves, dogs, and cats. We tested these sera for the presence of specific antibodies against influenza type A virus using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: Our results show that 4% of the tested samples had antibodies in sera, including some doves, chickens, and dogs. These data suggest exposure and seroconversion of these animals or birds to the influenza type A virus.

Conclusion: The presence of antibodies against influenza type A virus in sera of some animals and birds without a previous vaccination history against the virus indicates a natural exposure history regarding this virus and seroconversion. Further large-scale molecular and epidemiological studies are needed to obtain a better understanding of the dynamics of influenza type A virus among various species of animals and birds.