Date of this Version
Bevins S.N., Pedersen K., Lutman M.W., Baroch J.A., Schmit B.S., et al. (2014) Large-Scale Avian Influenza Surveillance in Wild Birds throughout the United States. PLoS ONE 9(8): e104360. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104360
Avian influenza is a viral disease that primarily infects wild and domestic birds, but it also can be transmitted to a variety of mammals. In 2006, the United States of America Departments of Agriculture and Interior designed a large-scale, interagency surveillance effort that sought to determine if highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses were present in wild bird populations within the United States of America. This program, combined with the Canadian and Mexican surveillance programs, represented the largest, coordinated wildlife disease surveillance program ever implemented. Here we analyze data from 197,885 samples that were collected from over 200 wild bird species. While the initial motivation for surveillance focused on highly pathogenic avian influenza, the scale of the data provided unprecedented information on the ecology of avian influenza viruses in the United States, avian influenza virus host associations, and avian influenza prevalence in wild birds over time. Ultimately, significant advances in our knowledge of avian influenza will depend on both large-scale surveillance efforts and on focused research studies.