Molecular analysis of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of subtype H5N1 isolated from wild birds and mammals in northern Germany.
(9/90)Analysis of the full-length sequences of all eight segments of the German wild-bird H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus index isolate, A/Cygnus cygnus/Germany/R65/2006, and an H5N1 isolate from a cat (A/cat/Germany/R606/2006) obtained during an outbreak in February 2006 revealed a very high similarity between these two sequences. One amino acid substitution in the PA gene, encoding a protein involved in virus RNA replication, and one amino acid substitution in the haemagglutinin (HA) protein were observed. Phylogenetic analyses of the HA and neuraminidase nucleotide sequences showed that avian influenza H5N1 isolates from the Astrakhan region located in southern Russia were the closest relatives. Reassortment events could be excluded in comparison with other 'Qinghai-like' H5N1 viruses. In addition, an H5N1 isolate originating from a single outbreak in poultry in Germany was found to be related closely to the H5N1 viruses circulating at that time in the wild-bird population. (+info)
Hampered foraging and migratory performance in swans infected with low-pathogenic avian influenza A virus.
(10/90)It is increasingly acknowledged that migratory birds, notably waterfowl, play a critical role in the maintenance and spread of influenza A viruses. In order to elucidate the epidemiology of influenza A viruses in their natural hosts, a better understanding of the pathological effects in these hosts is required. Here we report on the feeding and migratory performance of wild migratory Bewick's swans (Cygnus columbianus bewickii Yarrell) naturally infected with low-pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) A viruses of subtypes H6N2 and H6N8. Using information on geolocation data collected from Global Positioning Systems fitted to neck-collars, we show that infected swans experienced delayed migration, leaving their wintering site more than a month after uninfected animals. This was correlated with infected birds travelling shorter distances and fuelling and feeding at reduced rates. The data suggest that LPAI virus infections in wild migratory birds may have higher clinical and ecological impacts than previously recognised. (+info)
Pathology of natural infections by H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in mute (Cygnus olor) and whooper (Cygnus cygnus) swans.
(11/90)Mortality in wild aquatic birds due to infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) is a rare event. During the recent outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Germany, mortality due to H5N1 HPAIV was observed among mute and whooper swans as part of a rapid spread of this virus. In contrast to earlier reports, swans appeared to be highly susceptible and represented the mainly affected species. We report gross and histopathology and distribution of influenza virus antigen in mute and whooper swans that died after natural infection with H5N1 HPAIV. At necropsy, the most reliable lesions were multifocal hemorrhagic necrosis in the pancreas, pulmonary congestion and edema, and subepicardial hemorrhages. Major histologic lesions were acute pancreatic necrosis, multifocal necrotizing hepatitis, and lymphoplasmacytic encephalitis with neuronal necrosis. Adrenals displayed consistently scattered cortical and medullary necrosis. In spleen and Peyer's patches, mild lymphocyte necrosis was present. Immunohistochemical demonstration of HPAIV nucleoprotein in pancreas, adrenals, liver, and brain was strongly consistent with histologic lesions. In the brain, a large number of neurons and glial cells, especially Purkinje cells, showed immunostaining. Occasionally, ependymal cells of the spinal cord were also positive. In the lungs, influenza virus antigen was identified in a few endothelial cells but not within pneumocytes. The infection of the central nervous system supports the view that the neurotropism of H5N1 HPAIV leads to nervous disturbances with loss of orientation. More investigations are necessary to clarify the mechanisms of the final circulatory failure, lung edema, and rapid death of the swans. (+info)
Movements of birds and avian influenza from Asia into Alaska.
(12/90)Asian-origin avian influenza (AI) viruses are spread in part by migratory birds. In Alaska, diverse avian hosts from Asia and the Americas overlap in a region of intercontinental avifaunal mixing. This region is hypothesized to be a zone of Asia-to-America virus transfer because birds there can mingle in waters contaminated by wild-bird-origin AI viruses. Our 7 years of AI virus surveillance among waterfowl and shorebirds in this region (1998-2004; 8,254 samples) showed remarkably low infection rates (0.06%). Our findings suggest an Arctic effect on viral ecology, caused perhaps by low ecosystem productivity and low host densities relative to available water. Combined with a synthesis of avian diversity and abundance, intercontinental host movements, and genetic analyses, our results suggest that the risk and probably the frequency of intercontinental virus transfer in this region are relatively low. (+info)
Avian influenza viruses in water birds, Africa.
(13/90)We report the first large-scale surveillance of avian influenza viruses in water birds conducted in Africa. This study shows evidence of avian influenza viruses in wild birds, both Eurasian and Afro-tropical species, in several major wetlands of Africa. (+info)
Influenza in migratory birds and evidence of limited intercontinental virus exchange.
(14/90)Migratory waterfowl of the world are the natural reservoirs of influenza viruses of all known subtypes. However, it is unknown whether these waterfowl perpetuate highly pathogenic (HP) H5 and H7 avian influenza viruses. Here we report influenza virus surveillance from 2001 to 2006 in wild ducks in Alberta, Canada, and in shorebirds and gulls at Delaware Bay (New Jersey), United States, and examine the frequency of exchange of influenza viruses between the Eurasian and American virus clades, or superfamilies. Influenza viruses belonging to each of the subtypes H1 through H13 and N1 through N9 were detected in these waterfowl, but H14 and H15 were not found. Viruses of the HP Asian H5N1 subtypes were not detected, and serologic studies in adult mallard ducks provided no evidence of their circulation. The recently described H16 subtype of influenza viruses was detected in American shorebirds and gulls but not in ducks. We also found an unusual cluster of H7N3 influenza viruses in shorebirds and gulls that was able to replicate well in chickens and kill chicken embryos. Genetic analysis of 6,767 avian influenza gene segments and 248 complete avian influenza viruses supported the notion that the exchange of entire influenza viruses between the Eurasian and American clades does not occur frequently. Overall, the available evidence does not support the perpetuation of HP H5N1 influenza in migratory birds and suggests that the introduction of HP Asian H5N1 to the Americas by migratory birds is likely to be a rare event. (+info)
Age-specific reproduction in a long-lived species: the combined effects of senescence and individual quality.
Seroconversion in wild birds and local circulation of West Nile virus, Spain.