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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2004 Fall;4(3):177-89.

Influenza A viruses of migrating wild aquatic birds in North America.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.


Surveillance of North America's wild ducks and shorebirds for 26 and 16 years, respectively, revealed differences in the prevalence of orthomyxoviruses between these hosts. Shorebirds had a high frequency of influenza A virus isolation during their northern migration, while wild ducks had high virus isolation frequencies during their southern migration. Some subtypes of influenza occurred regularly in both hosts with a 2-year periodicity, whereas others rarely occurred. Hemagglutinin subtypes H1 through H12 occurred in both hosts; H13 occurred only in shorebirds; and H14, H15, and influenza B and C never were detected. Shorebirds manifested a broader range of subtypes suggesting that shorebirds are the leading source of some viruses (such as H5) which are isolated less frequently from wild ducks. The viruses reported in this study are available for genomic study to determine whether prediction of host range or pandemic potential is possible.

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