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Intercontinental Dissemination of AI Virus by Migratory Birds


A recent survey conducted in Australia demonstrated the presence of HPAI H5 clade in red-necked stints (Calidris ruficolis).  Of the 1,531 serum samples from this species  20 percent demonstrated the presence of HI antibodies over seven consecutive years of surveillance in five states.  Stints migrate from Siberia to Australia with stopovers on the East African coast.  Although antibodies were present, there is no evidence these birds have introduced HPAI virus to Australia.


The authors stressed the need for surveillance since long-distance migration can introduce HPAI virus into previously unaffected areas.


*Wille, M. et al Serologic evidence of exposure to highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 virus in migratory shore birds, Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 25: 1901-1903 (2019)