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Emerg Infect Dis. 2019 Oct;25(10):1903-1910. doi: 10.3201/eid2510.190699.

Serologic Evidence of Exposure to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5 Viruses in Migratory Shorebirds, Australia.


Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5Nx viruses of the goose/Guangdong/96 lineage continue to cause outbreaks in poultry and wild birds globally. Shorebirds, known reservoirs of avian influenza viruses, migrate from Siberia to Australia along the East-Asian-Australasian Flyway. We examined whether migrating shorebirds spending nonbreeding seasons in Australia were exposed to HPAI H5 viruses. We compared those findings with those for a resident duck species. We screened >1,500 blood samples for nucleoprotein antibodies and tested positive samples for specific antibodies against 7 HPAI H5 virus antigens and 2 low pathogenicity avian influenza H5 virus antigens. We demonstrated the presence of hemagglutinin inhibitory antibodies against HPAI H5 virus clade in the red-necked stint (Calidris ruficolis). We did not find hemagglutinin inhibitory antibodies in resident Pacific black ducks (Anas superciliosa). Our study highlights the potential role of long-distance migratory shorebirds in intercontinental spread of HPAI H5 viruses.


Australia; H5; HPAI; Pacific black duck; avian influenza; clade; highly pathogenic; influenza A virus; red-necked stint; serology; shorebirds

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