In 2006 an outbreak of avian influenza A(H5N1) in Turkey caused 12 human infections, including four deaths. We conducted a serological survey to determine the extent of subclinical infection caused by the outbreak. Single serum samples were collected from five individuals with avian influenza whose nasopharyngeal swabs tested positive for H5 RNA by polymerase chain reaction, 28 family contacts of the cases, 95 poultry cullers, 75 individuals known to have had contact with diseased chickens and 81 individuals living in the region with no known contact with infected chickens and/or patients. Paired serum samples were collected from 97 healthcare workers. All sera were tested for the presence of neutralizing antibodies by enzyme-linked immunoassay, haemagglutination inhibition and microneutralization assays. Only one serum sample, from a parent of an avian influenza patient, tested positive for H5N1 by microneutralization assay. This survey shows that there was minimal subclinical H5N1 infection among contacts of human cases and infected poultry in Turkey in 2006. Further, the low rate of subclinical infection following contact with diseased poultry gave further support to the reported low infectivity of the virus.
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