U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Cross, T.A., D.M. Arsnoe, R.B. Minnis, D.T. King, S. Swafford, K. Pedersen, and J.C. Owen. 2013. Prevalence of avian paramyxovirus 1 and avian influenza virus in Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) in eastern North America. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 49(4):965-977. doi: 10.7589/2012-06-164.


U.S. government work.


Although it is well established that wild birds, such as cormorants, carry virulent avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (APMV-1; causative agent of Newcastle disease) and avian influenza virus (AIV), the prevalence of these viruses among Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) in the Great Lakes region of North America has not been rigorously studied. We determined the prevalences of APMV-1 and AIV in Double-crested Cormorants from the interior population of eastern North America. From 2009 to 2011, oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs and serum samples were collected from 1,957 individual Double-crested Cormorants, ranging from chicks to breeding adults, on breeding colony sites in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Mississippi, USA, and Ontario, Canada, as well as on the wintering grounds of migratory populations in Mississippi, USA. Prevalence of antibodies to APMV-1 in after–hatch year birds was consistently high across all three years, ranging from 86.3% to 91.6%. Antibody prevalences in chicks were much lower: 1.7, 15.3, and 16.4% in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. Virulent APMV-1 was detected in six chicks sampled in 2010 in Ontario, Canada. Only one adult was positive for AIV-specific antibodies and five individuals were positive for AIV matrix protein, but the latter were negative for H5 and H7 AIV subtypes. We provide further evidence that Double-crested Cormorants play an important role in the maintenance and circulation of APMV-1 in the wild, but are unlikely to be involved in the circulation of AIV.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons