Shorebirds on their southerly migration from Siberia to Australia, may pass through Asian regions currently experiencing outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza. To test for the presence of avian influenza viruses in migratory shorebirds arriving in Australia during spring 2004, 173 cloacal swabs were collected from six species. Ten swabs were positive for influenza A, with H4N8 viruses detected in five red-necked stints and H11N9 viruses detected in five sharp-tailed sandpipers. No H5N1 viruses were detected. All isolated viruses were non-pathogenic in domestic chickens. These results further demonstrate the potential for migratory shorebirds to carry and potentially spread influenza viruses.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 1, 2006
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