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


Date of this Version



Veterinary Microbiology 177 (2015) 296–301


U.S. Government Work.


Historically, surveillance for influenza A viruses (IAVs) in wild birds has relied on viral detection assays. This was largely due to poor performance of serological assays in wild birds; however, recently developed commercial serological assays have improved the ability to detect IAV antibodies in wild birds. Serological surveillance for IAV antibodies in Canada geese (Branta canadensis) has shown that, despite a low prevalence of virus isolations, Canada geese are frequently exposed to IAVs and that exposure increases with latitude, which follows virus isolation prevalence patterns observed in dabbling ducks. The objectives of this study were to further evaluate IAV antibodies in Canada geese using a subtype-specific serological assay to determine if Canada geese are exposed to subtypes that commonly circulate in dabbling ducks. We collected serum samples from Canada geese in Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and tested for antibodies to IAVs using a blocking ELISA. Positive samples were further tested by hemagglutination inhibition for 10 hemagglutinin IAV subtypes (H1–H10). Overall, we detected antibodies to NP in 24% (714/2919) of geese. Antibodies to H3, H4, H5, and H6 subtypes predominated, with H5 being detected most frequently. A decrease in H5 HI antibody prevalence and titers was observed from 2009 to 2012. We also detected similar exposure pattern in Canada geese from New Jersey, Minnesota, Washington and Wisconsin. Based on the published literature, H3, H4, and H6 viruses are the most commonly reported IAVs from dabbling ducks. These results indicate that Canada geese also are frequently exposed to viruses of the same HA subtypes; however, the high prevalence of antibodies to H5 viruses was not expected as H5 IAVs are generally not well represented in reported isolates from ducks.

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