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Seasonal variation in LPAI virus infection in mallards and the role of migrants

Van Dijk, J.G.B. and Fouchier, R.A.M and Klaassen, M.R.J. (2012) Seasonal variation in LPAI virus infection in mallards and the role of migrants.

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Mechanisms driving seasonal variation in low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) virus infections in wild birds are not fully understood. Many surveillance programs are focused on single seasons, while intensive year-round sampling schemes, measuring both current and past infection, are needed to enhance our knowledge on temporal dynamics of LPAI virus infections. We therefore conducted a year-round surveillance on one of the key host species of LPAI viruses, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), at a duck decoy in the Netherlands. Mallards are partly migratory, meaning that throughout Europe the population consists of both migratory and resident birds. Almost every week, and in spring and summer twice a week, cloacal, oropharyngeal and blood samples were collected. We found the proportionally highest number of LPAI infected birds in autumn, when only few birds contained LPAI antibodies, whereas in spring viral prevalence was lowest, with many birds being seropositive. The peak of viral prevalence in autumn might be explained by the potential influx of migratory mallards in contrast to immunologically naïve young which has previously been suggested as a driver for LPAI virus infection in autumn. With the novel technique of stabile isotope analysis we could determine the origin of the infected mallards (resident or migrant) to test whether migrants are indeed the main driver of seasonal variation of LPAI virus infection. Hereby, in addition, we are trying to answer the question ‘who’ is spreading the LPAI virus, residents or migrants, which is still a heavily debated issue.

Item Type:Lecture
Institutes:Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie (NIOO)
ID Code:12674
Deposited On:19 Sep 2012 02:00
Last Modified:24 Jan 2013 22:14

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