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Serological and molecular surveys of influenza A viruses in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic wild birds

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 December 2019

Oliver Gittins
Affiliation:
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS), University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, LoughboroughLE12 5RD, UK
Llorenç Grau-Roma
Affiliation:
School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (SVMS), University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, LoughboroughLE12 5RD, UK Current address: Institute of Animal Pathology, University of Bern, Länggassstrasse 122, 3012, Bern, Switzerland
Rosa Valle
Affiliation:
IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, UAB-IRTA), Campus UAB, 08193Bellaterra, Spain
Francesc Xavier Abad
Affiliation:
IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, UAB-IRTA), Campus UAB, 08193Bellaterra, Spain
Miquel Nofrarías
Affiliation:
IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, UAB-IRTA), Campus UAB, 08193Bellaterra, Spain
Peter G. Ryan
Affiliation:
FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch7701, South Africa
Jacob González-Solís
Affiliation:
Institut de Recerca de la Biodiversitat (IRBio) and Dept Biologia Evolutiva, Ecologia i Ciències Ambientals, Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Diagonal 643, 08028Barcelona, Spain
Natàlia Majó
Affiliation:
IRTA, Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal (CReSA, UAB-IRTA), Campus UAB, 08193Bellaterra, Spain Departament de Sanitat i Anatomia Animals, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 08193Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

To evaluate how avian influenza virus (AIV) circulates among the avifauna of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands, we surveyed 14 species of birds from Marion, Livingston and Gough islands. A competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was carried out on the sera of 147 birds. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to detect the AIV genome from 113 oropharyngeal and 122 cloacal swabs from these birds. The overall seroprevalence to AIV infection was 4.8%, with the only positive results coming from brown skuas (Catharacta antarctica) (4 out of 18, 22%) and southern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus) (3 out of 24, 13%). Avian influenza virus antibodies were detected in birds sampled from Marion and Gough islands, with a higher seroprevalence on Marion Island (P = 0.014) and a risk ratio of 11.29 (95% confidence interval: 1.40–91.28) compared to Gough Island. The AIV genome was not detected in any of the birds sampled. These results confirm that AIV strains are uncommon among Antarctic and sub-Antarctic predatory seabirds, but they may suggest that scavenging seabirds are the main avian reservoirs and spreaders of this virus in the Southern Ocean. Further studies are necessary to determine the precise role of these species in the epidemiology of AIV.

Type
Biological Sciences
Copyright
Copyright © Antarctic Science Ltd 2019

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