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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 5;9(3):e90826. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0090826. eCollection 2014.

Sampling strategies and biodiversity of influenza A subtypes in wild birds.

Author information

Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York, United States of America.
Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre - Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Environment Canada, Science & Technology Branch, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Centre for Ecology and Evolution in Microbial Model Systems (EEMiS), Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden; Department of Population Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America.
United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Wildlife Health Center, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America.
Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Disease, University of Newcastle and Hunter Medical Research Institute, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Laboratory of Virology, Division of Intramural Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana, United States of America.
Metabiota, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.


Wild aquatic birds are recognized as the natural reservoir of avian influenza A viruses (AIV), but across high and low pathogenic AIV strains, scientists have yet to rigorously identify most competent hosts for the various subtypes. We examined 11,870 GenBank records to provide a baseline inventory and insight into patterns of global AIV subtype diversity and richness. Further, we conducted an extensive literature review and communicated directly with scientists to accumulate data from 50 non-overlapping studies and over 250,000 birds to assess the status of historic sampling effort. We then built virus subtype sample-based accumulation curves to better estimate sample size targets that capture a specific percentage of virus subtype richness at seven sampling locations. Our study identifies a sampling methodology that will detect an estimated 75% of circulating virus subtypes from a targeted bird population and outlines future surveillance and research priorities that are needed to explore the influence of host and virus biodiversity on emergence and transmission.

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