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Identifying Gaps in Wild Waterfowl Influenza A Surveillance in Ohio, United States

Nolting, Jacqueline M., Lauterbach, Sarah E., Slemons, Richard D., Bowman, Andrew S.
Avian diseases 2018 v.63 no.sp1 pp. 145-148
Anas platyrhynchos, Influenza A virus, data collection, ducks, ecology, influenza, migratory birds, monitoring, natural history, sialidase, waterfowl, Ohio
The Mississippi Flyway is of utmost importance in monitoring influenza A viral diversity in the natural reservoir, as it is used by approximately 40% of North American migratory waterfowl. In 2008, influenza A virus (IAV) surveillance was initiated in eight states within the flyway during annual southern migration, to gain better insight into the natural history of influenza A viruses in the natural reservoir. More than 45,000 samples have been collected and tested, resulting in hundreds of diverse influenza A viral isolates, but seasonal sampling may not be the best strategy to gain insight into the natural history of IAV. To investigate the progress of this sampling strategy toward understanding the ecology of IAV in wild waterfowl, data from mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) sampled nearly year-round in Ohio were examined. Overall, 3,645 samples were collected from mallards in Ohio from 2008 to 2016, with IAV being recovered from 13.6% of all samples collected. However, when data from each month are examined individually, it becomes apparent that the aggregated summary may be providing a misleading view of IAV in Ohio mallards. For instance, in August the frequency of viral recovery is 29.8%, with isolates representing at least 47 hemagglutinin/ neuraminidase (HA/NA) combinations. In November, during the height of southern migration, IAV isolation drops to 6.2%, with only 25 HA/NA combinations being represented. Our biased sampling towards convenience and high IAV recovery has created gaps in the data set, which prohibit a full understanding of the IAV ecology in this waterfowl population.