A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Practices Exposing Humans to Avian Influenza Viruses, Their Prevalence, and Rationale.
Almost all human infections by avian influenza viruses (AIVs) are transmitted from poultry. A systematic review was conducted to identify practices associated with human infections, their prevalence, and rationale. Observational studies were identified through database searches. Meta-analysis produced combined odds ratio estimates. The prevalence of practices and rationales for their adoptions were reported. Of the 48,217 records initially identified, 65 articles were included. Direct and indirect exposures to poultry were associated with infection for all investigated viral subtypes and settings. For the most frequently reported practices, association with infection seemed stronger in markets than households, for sick and dead than healthy poultry, and for H7N9 than H5N1. Practices were often described in general terms and their frequency and intensity of contact were not provided. The prevalence of practices was highly variable across studies, and no studies comprehensively explored reasons behind the adoption of practices. Combining epidemiological and targeted anthropological studies would increase the spectrum and detail of practices that could be investigated and should aim to provide insights into the rationale(s) for their existence. A better understanding of these rationales may help to design more realistic and acceptable preventive public health measures and messages.