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Influenza A Prevalence and Subtype Diversity in Migrating Teal Sampled Along the United States Gulf Coast

Carter, Deborah, Link, Paul, Walther, Patrick, Ramey, Andrew, Stallknecht, David, Poulson, Rebecca
Avian diseases 2018 v.63 no.sp1 pp. 165-171
Anas discors, Influenza A virus, autumn, coasts, ducks, ecology, hemagglutinins, immunity, influenza, monitoring, pathogenicity, sialidase, spring, viruses, waterfowl, wild birds, Louisiana, Texas
Wild birds in the order Anseriformes are important reservoirs for influenza A viruses (IAVs); however, IAV prevalence and subtype diversity may vary by season, even at the same location. To better understand the ecology of IAV during waterfowl migration through the Gulf Coast of the United States (Louisiana and Texas), surveillance of blue-winged (Spatula discors) and American green-winged (Anas carolinensis) teal was conducted. The surveillance was done annually during the spring (live capture; 2012–17) and fall (hunter harvested; 2007–17) at times inferred to coincide with northward and southward movements, respectively, for these waterfowl species. During spring migration, 266 low pathogenicity (LP) IAV positive samples were recovered from 7547 paired cloacal–oropharyngeal (COP) samples (prevalence, 3.5%; annual range, 1.3%–8.4%). During fall migration, 650 LP IAV-positive samples were recovered from 9493 COP samples (prevalence, 6.8%; annual range, 0.4%–23.5%). Overall, 34 and 20 different IAV subtypes were recovered during fall and spring sampling, respectively. Consistent with previous results for fall migrating ducks, H3 and H4 hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes were most common; however, H4 subtype viruses predominated every year. This is in contrast to the predominance of LP H7 and H10 HA subtype viruses during spring. The N6 and N8 neuraminidase subtypes, which were usually associated with H4, were most common during fall; the N6 subtype was not recovered in the spring. These consistent seasonal trends in IAV subtype detection in teal are currently not understood and highlight the need for further research regarding potential drivers of spatiotemporal patterns of infection, such as population immunity.