Waterfowl show spatiotemporal trends in influenza A H5 and H7 infections but limited taxonomic variation

Ecological Applications
By: , and 



Influenza A viruses in wild birds pose threats to the poultry industry, wild birds, and human health under certain conditions. Of particular importance are wild waterfowl, which are the primary reservoir of low pathogenicity influenza viruses that ultimately cause high pathogenicity outbreaks in poultry farms. Despite much work on the drivers of influenza A virus prevalence, the underlying viral subtype dynamics are still mostly unexplored. Nevertheless, understanding these dynamics, particularly for the agriculturally significant H5 and H7 subtypes, is important for mitigating the risk of outbreaks in domestic poultry farms. Here, using an expansive surveillance database, we take a large-scale look at the spatial, temporal, and taxonomic drivers in the prevalence of these two subtypes among influenza A positive wild waterfowl. We document spatiotemporal trends that are consistent with past work, particularly an uptick in H5 viruses in late autumn and H7 viruses in spring. Interestingly, despite large species differences in temporal trends in overall influenza A virus prevalence, we document only modest differences in the relative abundance of these two subtypes and little, if any, temporal differences among species. As such, it appears that differences in species' phenology, physiology, and behaviors that influence overall susceptibility to influenza A viruses play a much lesser role in relative susceptibility to different subtypes. Instead, species likely freely pass viruses among each other regardless of subtype. Importantly, despite the similarities among species documented here, individual species still may play important roles in moving viruses across large geographic areas or sustaining local outbreaks through their different migratory behaviors.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Waterfowl show spatiotemporal trends in influenza A H5 and H7 infections but limited taxonomic variation
Series title Ecological Applications
DOI 10.1002/eap.2906
Volume 33
Issue 7
Year Published 2023
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Eastern Ecological Science Center
Description e2906, 11 p.
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details