From: USGS
Published May 2, 2017 07:49 AM

Avian Flu Testing of Wild Ducks Informs Biosecurity and Can Reduce Economic Loss

Ducks in North America can be carriers of avian influenza viruses similar to those found in a 2016 outbreak in Indiana that led to the losses of hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys, according to a recent study.

Understanding the genetic origins of avian influenza outbreaks through enhanced wild bird surveillance sampling can provide early warning to poultry producers, and lead to improved biosecurity measures that can reduce economic losses in future outbreaks.

To understand the origins of the novel strain of H7N8 avian influenza that caused the Indiana outbreak in January 2016, and possible role of wild birds in the outbreak, the USGS and collaborators examined over 400 wild bird viruses from across North America collected between 2007 and 2016.

They found that wild waterfowl, such as ducks and geese, commonly carry avian influenza viruses and typically show no signs of illness. Wild bird viruses can be transferred to commercial poultry through their fecal material when deposited on soil and in water.


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