Avian influenza virus ecology in Iceland shorebirds: intercontinental reassortment and movement

Infection, Genetics and Evolution
By: , and 



Shorebirds are a primary reservoir of avian influenza viruses (AIV). We conducted surveillance studies in Iceland shorebird populations for 3 years, documenting high serological evidence of AIV exposure in shorebirds, primarily in Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres; seroprevalence = 75%). However, little evidence of virus infection was found in these shorebird populations and only two turnstone AIVs (H2N7; H5N1) were able to be phylogenetically examined. These analyses showed that viruses from Iceland shorebirds were primarily derived from Eurasian lineage viruses, yet the H2 hemagglutinin gene segment was from a North American lineage previously detected in a gull from Iceland the previous year. The H5N1 virus was determined to be low pathogenic, however the PB2 gene was closely related to the PB2 from highly pathogenic H5N1 isolates from China. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that the turnstones were infected with at least one of these AIV while in Iceland and confirm Iceland as an important location where AIV from different continents interact and reassort, creating new virus genomes. Mounting data warrant continued surveillance for AIV in wild birds in the North Atlantic, including Canada, Greenland, and the northeast USA to determine the risks of new AI viruses and their intercontinental movement in this region.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Avian influenza virus ecology in Iceland shorebirds: intercontinental reassortment and movement
Series title Infection, Genetics and Evolution
DOI 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.09.013
Volume 28
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) National Wildlife Health Center
Description 7 p.
First page 130
Last page 136
Country Iceland
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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