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Vet. Sci. 2018, 5(2), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci5020050

Serological Evidence for Influenza A Virus Exposure in Wild Birds in Trinidad & Tobago

1
Department of Basic Veterinary Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, Trinidad and Tobago
2
Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mount Hope, Trinidad and Tobago
3
Department of Virology, Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Weybridge, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 9 May 2018
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Abstract

Migratory waterfowl and shorebirds are known to be important reservoirs for influenza A viruses (IAV) and they have been repeatedly implicated as causing avian influenza virus (AIV) outbreaks in domestic poultry flocks worldwide. In recent years, wild birds have been implicated in spreading zoonotic H5 influenza viruses to many countries, which has generated high levels of public health concern. Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) is positioned along the wintering route of migratory birds from the Americas; every year, many species of wild birds stopover on the islands of T&T, potentially carrying AIVs and exposing local populations of wild and domestic birds, including commercial poultry, to infection. The aim of this study was to trap, sample, and test as many wild bird species as possible to see whether they were actively infected or previously exposed to AIV. A total of 38 wild birds were trapped, sampled, and tested for IAV RNA, antibodies specific for influenza A nucleoprotein (NP) and antibodies that were specific for H5 and H7 subtypes. Five of the samples tested antibody positive for IAV, while three of these samples had positive titres (≥16) for the H5 subtype, indicating that they were likely to have been previously infected with an H5 IAV subtype. One of the samples tested positive for IAV (M gene) RNA. These results highlight the potential threat that is posed by wild birds to backyard and commercial poultry in T&T and emphasise the importance of maintaining high levels of biosecurity on poultry farms, ensuring that domestic and wild birds are not in direct or indirect contact. The results also underline the need to carry out routine surveillance for AIV in domestic and wild birds in T&T and the wider Caribbean region. View Full-Text
Keywords: wild birds; Trinidad & Tobago; Caribbean; avian influenza virus wild birds; Trinidad & Tobago; Caribbean; avian influenza virus
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Brown Jordan, A.; Narang, D.; Essen, S.C.; Brookes, S.M.; Brown, I.H.; Oura, C. Serological Evidence for Influenza A Virus Exposure in Wild Birds in Trinidad & Tobago. Vet. Sci. 2018, 5, 50.

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