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AI Disseminated By Migratory Birds


A recent study* on H6N5 avian influenza virus indicated that migratory birds are responsible for bidirectional dissemination of avian influenza virus between North America and Eurasia. This conclusion was based on phylogenetic analysis of avian influenza viruses derived from wild bird feces in Korea. A number of species including Northern Pintails migrate across the Bering Strait from North America to Asia. Migratory flyways overlap over western Alaska.

The study involved assay of approximately 4,400 fecal samples collected in bird habitats in the Gimpo area of South Korea with a small proportion yielding H6N5 virus. The gene sequence assay showed that all eight segments were similar to sequences of AIV isolated from North American birds during 2016 and 2017. These were different from Eurasian isolates suggesting introduction of the H6N5 strain by migratory anseriformes from North America.

*Jeong, S. et al. Introduction of Avian Influenza (H6N5) virus into Asia from North America by wild birds. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 25:2138-2140 (2019)

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)