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Open AccessArticle

Evidence of the Presence of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza A Viruses in Wild Waterfowl in 2018 in South Africa

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Department of Viroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, Dr. Molewaterplein 50, 3015GE Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Division of Virology, Department of Infectious Diseases, Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, USA
3
Virology and Microbiology Research Group, Department of Pharmacy, City University College of Ajman, Sheikh Amaar Road, Al Tallah 2, P.O. Box 18484 Ajman, United Arab Emirates
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2019, 8(4), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens8040163
Received: 8 August 2019 / Revised: 26 August 2019 / Accepted: 11 September 2019 / Published: 25 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
Avian influenza viruses are pathogens of global concern to both animal and human health. Wild birds are the natural reservoir of avian influenza viruses and facilitate virus transport over large distances. Surprisingly, limited research has been performed to determine avian influenza host species and virus dynamics in wild birds on the African continent, including South Africa. This study described the first wild bird surveillance efforts for influenza A viruses in KwaZulu-Natal Province in South Africa after the 2017/2018 outbreak with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8 in poultry. A total of 550 swab samples from 278 migratory waterfowl were tested using real-time RT-PCR methods. Two samples (0.7%) were positive for avian influenza virus based on the matrix gene real-time RT-PCR but were negative for the hemagglutinin subtypes H5 and H7. Unfortunately, no sequence information or viable virus could be retrieved from the samples. This study shows that avian influenza viruses are present in the South African wild bird population, emphasizing the need for more extensive surveillance studies to determine the South African avian influenza gene pool and relevant local host species. View Full-Text
Keywords: avian influenza; epidemiology; influenza A virus; migratory waterfowl; real-time RT-PCR; South Africa; surveillance; wild birds; zoonosis avian influenza; epidemiology; influenza A virus; migratory waterfowl; real-time RT-PCR; South Africa; surveillance; wild birds; zoonosis
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MDPI and ACS Style

Poen, M.J.; Fouchier, R.A.M.; Webby, R.J.; Webster, R.G.; El Zowalaty, M.E. Evidence of the Presence of Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza A Viruses in Wild Waterfowl in 2018 in South Africa. Pathogens 2019, 8, 163.

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