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Avian Influenza Virus in sympatric wintering aquatic birds. Are landfills hotspots for surveillance?

AuthorsHöfle, Ursula ; Bárbara, Andreia; Torrontegui, Olalla; Barral, Marta; Hernández, José Manuel; Camacho, MariaCruz
Issue Date2016
Citation12th Conference of the European Wildlife Disease Association (2016)
AbstractAquatic wild birds are the undebated reservoir for avian influenza virus (AIV) and are studied intensively in order to better understand their role in the maintenance and spread of AIV. To date, AIV surveillance focuses on natural aquatic environments where different bird species aggregate and viral survival is enhanced. Nevertheless, artificial habitats such as landfills also hold notorious aggregations of wild birds, including AIV reservoir species. The use of landfills as predictable food source has significantly influenced population size, migratory and feeding behaviour of white storks (Ciconia ciconia) and black headed gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) among other species. During wintering, bird numbers at Spanish landfills increase as migrants and wintering individuals join local residents. Thus especially during the critical autumn migration and wintering period sampling of resting birds at landfills could be a useful surveillance tool in addition to surveillance carried out at wetlands. During the wintering season 2014 - 2015 we analysed the prevalence of AlV in sympatric avían species at two landfills in Ciudad Real and determined species related and temporal variation in AIV prevalence. We collected and tested 1,185 fresh faecal samples from white storks (n = 692), cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis, n = 166) and mixed gull flocks (black headed gulls, lesser black backed gulls Larus fuscus, yellow-legged gulls Larus michaelis, n = 377) in addition to cloaca) and oral swabs of five individuals that were found dead, by real time-RT PCR for AIV matrix gene amplification. We found an overall prevalence of AlV of 0.6 %, peaking in October (1.91 %), the time of arrival of migratory wild birds in Spanish territories. Gulls showed the highest AIV prevalence (1.31 %), followed by cattle egrets (0.86 %,) and white storks (0.14 %,). Gulls carried H 11 and H16 AIV subtypes, H16 was also detected in the cattle egret and Hl1 in a white stork, suggesting that, cross contamination may occur between wild birds that mix during foraging and resting at landfills. Our results indicate that AN circulates in wild birds that forage in landfills, and at least in gulls, probably continuously during the wintering season. Fresh faeces collection at landfills offers a cost-effective sampling method for large-scale LPAN surveillance in wild bird species that forage at landfills.
DescriptionResumen del trabajo presentado a la 12th Conference of the European Wildlife Disease Association (EWDA), celebrada en Berlin (Alemania) del 26 al 31 de agosto de 2016.
Appears in Collections:(IREC) Comunicaciones congresos
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