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Avian Dis. 2013 Sep;57(3):677-80.

Isolation of influenza A viruses from wild ducks and feathers in Minnesota (2010-2011).

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Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, Department of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


We investigated the feasibility of testing feathers as a complementary approach to detect low pathogenic influenza A viruses (IAVs) in wild duck populations. Feathers on the ground were collected at four duck capture sites during 2010 and 2011, in Minnesota, U. S. A. IAVs were isolated from both feathers and cloacal swabs sampled from ducks at the time of capture. Although virus isolation rates from feather and cloacal swabs were inconsistent between collections, the overall rate of isolation was greatest from the feather samples. Viruses isolated from feathers also reflected the subtype diversity observed in cloacal swab isolates but resulted in many more isolates that contained more than one virus. Our study suggests that testing feathers may represent an alternative noninvasive approach to recover viruses and estimate subtype abundance and diversity.

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