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Songbirds and Rodents Innocuous in Spread of 2015 HPAI Outbreaks


According to a recent article in PeerJ*, scientists at Iowa State University in cooperation with  colleagues in the U.S. Department of Agriculture APHIS and Western State Colorado University, demonstrated that small songbirds and diverse rodents captured on farms in Iowa  impacted by highly pathogenic avian influenza were not associated with the spread of the virus.

A total of 449 birds and rodents were swabbed internally and externally without evidence of infection with influenza virus applying RT-PCR assay.  A sample of 402 subjects failed to show antibodies against avian influenza.  In contrast, 83 of 527 waterfowl sampled from wetland and poultry sites yielded influenza A virus applying RT-PCR assay.

This study supports previous conclusions concerning the epidemiology of the 2015 epornitic.  The virus was introduced into areas in Iowa with a high concentration of egg producing flocks by migratory waterfowl.  Deficiencies in biosecurity facilitated the introduction of virus into commercial egg-production flocks.

* Houston, D. D. et al Evaluating the role of wild songbirds or rodents in spreading avian influenza virus across an agricultural landscape.  PeerJ DOI 10.7717/peerj.4060 December 13, 2017

(SMS 066-18 January 9th 2018)