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Emerg Infect Dis. 2007 Mar;13(3):404-11.

Surveillance of influenza A virus in migratory waterfowl in northern Europe.

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  • 1Smedby Health Center, Kalmar, Sweden.

Abstract

We conducted large-scale, systematic sampling of influenza type A virus in migratory waterfowl (mostly mallards [Anas platyrhynchos]) at Ottenby Bird Observatory, southeast Sweden. As with previous studies, we found a higher prevalence in fall than spring, and among juveniles compared with adults. However, in contrast to other studies, we found that prevalence in spring was sometimes high (mean 4.0%, highest 9.5%). This finding raises the possibility that ducks are capable of perpetuating influenza A virus of different subtypes and subtype combinations throughout the year and from 1 year to the next. Isolation of the H5 and H7 subtypes was common, which suggests risk for transmission to sensitive domestic animals such as poultry. We argue that wild bird screening can function as a sentinel system, and we give an example of how it could have been used to forecast a remote and deadly outbreak of influenza A in poultry.

PMID:
17552093
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2725893
Free PMC Article
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