Billions of North #American #birds have vanished (Science, summary)

[Source: Science, full page: (LINK). Summary, edited.]

Billions of North American birds have vanished

Elizabeth Pennisi

Science  20 Sep 2019: Vol. 365, Issue 6459, pp. 1228-1229 / DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6459.1228



North America’s birds are disappearing from the skies at a rate that’s shocking even to ornithologists. Since the 1970s, the continent has lost 3 billion birds, nearly 30% of the total, and even common birds such as sparrows and blackbirds are in decline, U.S. and Canadian researchers report online this week in Science. The findings raise fears that some familiar species could go the way of the passenger pigeon, a species once so abundant that its extinction in early 1900s seemed unthinkable. And the results, from the most comprehensive inventory ever done for North American birds, point to ecosystems in disarray because of habitat loss and other factors that have yet to be pinned down. Researchers hope these numbers will be a wake-up call for people and policymakers to take action to protect habitats and stop the decline.

Keywords: Wild Birds; Mass extinction; American Region.




[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

J Wildl Dis. 2019 Sep 18. [Epub ahead of print]


Bahnson CS1, Poulson RL1, Hollander LP1, Bradley JAC1, Stallknecht DE1.

Author information: 1 Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, 589 D. W. Brooks Drive, College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Population Health, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.



Delaware Bay, USA is the only documented location where influenza A virus (IAV) is consistently detected in a shorebird species, the Ruddy Turnstone (RUTU; Arenaria interpres morinella). Although IAV in shorebirds has been well studied at this site for decades, the importance of other species in the avian community as potential sources for the IAVs that infect RUTUs each spring remains unclear. We determined the susceptibility of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and Laughing gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla), to IAVs isolated from RUTUs in order to gain insight into the potential host range of these viruses. Captive-reared gulls were challenged with RUTU-origin H6N1, H10N7, H11N9, H12N4, and H13N6 IAV, as well as Mallard-origin H6N1 and H11N9. We challenged captive-reared Mallards with the same viruses, except for H13N6. At a biologically plausible challenge dose (104 50% embryo infective doses/0.1 mL), one of five gulls challenged with both H6N1 IAVs shed virus. The remaining gulls were resistant to infection with all viruses. In contrast, all Mallards were infected and shed virus. The H12N4 Mallard challenge group was an exception with no birds infected. These results indicated that Mallards are permissive to infection with viruses originating from a shorebird host and that interspecies transmission could occur. In contrast, host adaptation of IAVs to RUTUs may compromise their ability to be transmitted back to gulls.

KEYWORDS: Delaware Bay; Laughing gull; Mallard; Ruddy Turnstone; influenza A virus

PMID: 31532732

Keywords: Avian Influenza; Wild Birds; H6N1; H10N7; H11N9; H12N4; H13N6; USA.


#Serologic #Evidence of #Exposure to Highly Pathogenic #Avian #Influenza #H5 Viruses in Migratory #Shorebirds, #Australia (Emerg Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Volume 25, Number 10—October 2019 / Research

Serologic Evidence of Exposure to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5 Viruses in Migratory Shorebirds, Australia

Michelle Wille  , Simeon Lisovski, Alice Risely, Marta Ferenczi, David Roshier, Frank Y.K. Wong, Andrew C. Breed, Marcel Klaassen, and Aeron C. Hurt

Author affiliations: World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (M. Wille, A.C. Hurt); Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia (S. Lisovski, A. Risely, M. Ferenczi, D. Roshier, M. Klaassen); Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australian Animal Health Laboratory, Geelong (F.Y.K. Wong); Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Canberra, Capital Territory, Australia (A.C. Breed); University of Queensland, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia (A.C. Breed)



Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5Nx viruses of the goose/Guangdong/96 lineage continue to cause outbreaks in poultry and wild birds globally. Shorebirds, known reservoirs of avian influenza viruses, migrate from Siberia to Australia along the East-Asian-Australasian Flyway. We examined whether migrating shorebirds spending nonbreeding seasons in Australia were exposed to HPAI H5 viruses. We compared those findings with those for a resident duck species. We screened >1,500 blood samples for nucleoprotein antibodies and tested positive samples for specific antibodies against 7 HPAI H5 virus antigens and 2 low pathogenicity avian influenza H5 virus antigens. We demonstrated the presence of hemagglutinin inhibitory antibodies against HPAI H5 virus clade in the red-necked stint (Calidris ruficolis). We did not find hemagglutinin inhibitory antibodies in resident Pacific black ducks (Anas superciliosa). Our study highlights the potential role of long-distance migratory shorebirds in intercontinental spread of HPAI H5 viruses.

Keywords: Avian Influenza; H5; Wild Birds; Australia.


#Avian #Influenza #H5N8 #Outbreak in #African #Penguins (Spheniscus demersus), #Namibia, 2019 (J Wildl Dis., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

J Wildl Dis. 2019 Sep 4. [Epub ahead of print]

Avian Influenza H5N8 Outbreak in African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus), Namibia, 2019.

Umberto M1, Aikukutu G2, Roux JP3, Kemper J4, Ntahonshikira C1, Marruchella G1,5, Khaiseb S2, Cattoli G6, Dundon WG6.

Author information: 1 Department of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Namibia, Neudamm Campus, Private Bag 13301, Windhoek, Namibia. 2 Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL), 24 Goethe Street, Private Bag 18137, Windhoek, Namibia. 3 Ecosystem Section, Lüderitz Marine Research, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, PO Box 394, Lüderitz, Namibia. 4 African Penguin Conservation Project, PO Box 583, Lüderitz, Namibia. 5 Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, Loc. Piano d’Accio S.P. 18, 64100, Teramo, Italy. 6 Animal Production and Health Laboratory, Animal Production and Health Section, Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, International Atomic Energy Agency, PO Box 100, 1400 Vienna, Austria.



In January 2019, high mortalities were reported among African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus) in a breeding colony on Halifax Island, Namibia, Africa. Analysis of samples by reverse transcription quantitative PCR indicated the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N8. Sequence analysis of the hemagglutinin and neuraminidase genes confirmed the presence of the virus in the birds and its high similarity to HPAI subtype H5N8 identified in South Africa in 2017. There have been no previous reports of HPAI H5N8 in Namibia.

KEYWORDS: H5N8; Highly pathogenic avian influenza; Namibia; outbreak; penguins

PMID: 31483707

Keywords: Avian Influenza; H5N8; Wild Birds; Namibia.


#Fireworks-like #Surveillance #Approach: The case of HPAI #H5N1 in #WildBirds in #Europe (Transbound Emerg Dis., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2019 Sep 3. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13342. [Epub ahead of print]

Fireworks-like Surveillance Approach: The case of HPAI H5N1 in Wild Birds in Europe.

Pereira H1,2,3, Artois M1, Bicout DJ1,4.

Author information: 1 VetAgro Sup, Veterinary Campus of Lyon, 69280, Marcy l’Étoile, France. 2 Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Hôpital Européen Georges-Pompidou, Unité de Recherche Clinique, Paris, France. 3 INSERM, Centre d’Investigation Clinique 1418 (CIC1418), Paris, France. 4 Biomathematics and Epidemiology, EPSP- Labo TIMC, UMR 5525, CNRS, Grenoble Alpes University and VetAgro Sup, 69280, Marcy l’Étoile, France.



Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) risk management requires efficient surveillance of the infection in wild birds for early warning purposes. In this study, our aim was to describe the spread of continent-wide infection cases using a fireworks model and thereby improve current surveillance systems. The fireworks model is a metaphor illustrating the spread of HPAI as a point source epizootic. The approach is based on early detection of the outbreak seeds (sparks from the fireworks) and uses a predictive model of the probability of the occurrence of new cases following a seed introduction; this then determines the spatiotemporal perimeter for intense surveillance investigations. For a case study, we used surveillance data on HPAI H5N1 in wild birds across Europe between 2005 and 2010 to describe the outbreaks and determine the success of the case detection used to inform management of the disease. The fireworks description assumes simultaneous introductions of “seeds” of cases, which then “explode” in local foci but do not merge into a progressive disease wave. This model fit the data well. Using this predictive approach for HPAI cases in EU countries, we found that the investigation radius needed to achieve a detection level of 90% of new cases after an outbreak ranged from 10 km to more than 300 km, depending on the outbreak pattern. Based on these findings, the fireworks approach can be a valuable method for identifying the perimeters and risk areas to be targeted for enhanced surveillance. The rationale of the fireworks approach is quite generic and can easily be adapted to different situations and contexts.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2019 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

KEYWORDS: H5N1; Highly pathogenic avian influenza; fireworks-based surveillance; mathematical modelling; wild birds

PMID: 31482660 DOI: 10.1111/tbed.13342

Keywords: Avian Influenza; H5N1; Wild Birds; European Region.


#Usutu Virus #Epizootic in #Belgium in 2017 and 2018: Evidence of Virus Endemization and Ongoing Introduction Events (Vector Borne Zoo Dis., abstract)

[Source: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Usutu Virus Epizootic in Belgium in 2017 and 2018: Evidence of Virus Endemization and Ongoing Introduction Events

Emna Benzarti, Michaël Sarlet, Mathieu Franssen, Daniel Cadar, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, Jose Felipe Rivas, Annick Linden, Daniel Desmecht, and Mutien Garigliany

Published Online: 3 Sep 2019 / DOI:



Wildlife surveillance allowed the monitoring of the zoonotic mosquito-borne Usutu virus (USUV) in birds and bats (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) in southern Belgium in 2017 and 2018. USUV-RNA was detected in 69 birds (of 253) from 15 species, among which 7 species had not previously been reported to be susceptible to the infection. Similarly, 2 bats (of 10) were detected positive by reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). USUV-associated lesions were mainly found in Eurasian Blackbirds (Turdus merula), in which USUV antigens were demonstrated by immunohistochemistry in the brain, heart, liver, kidney, intestine, and lung. Partial nonstructural protein 5 gene-based phylogenetic analysis showed several identical or closely related strains from 2016, 2017, and 2018 clustering together within Europe 3 or Africa 3 lineages. Further, one USUV strain detected in a common chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) manifested a close genetic relationship with the European 1 strains circulating in Hungary and Austria. Our data provide evidence of USUV endemization in southern Belgium in local birds and bats, extension of the host range of the virus and ongoing virus introduction from abroad, likely by migratory birds. Our results highlight the need for vigilance in the forthcoming years toward new virus-associated outbreaks in birds and possible human infections in Belgium.

Keywords: Usutu virus; Bats; Wild Birds; Belgium.


Complete #genome #sequence of a novel #reassortant #H3N3 #avian #influenza virus (Arch Virol., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Arch Virol. 2019 Aug 27. doi: 10.1007/s00705-019-04386-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Complete genome sequence of a novel reassortant H3N3 avian influenza virus.

Le TB1,2, Kim HK3, Le HY1,2, Jeong MC1,2, Kim IK4, Jeong DG5,6, Yoon SW7,8.

Author information: 1 Infectious Disease Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology, Daejeon, 34141, South Korea. 2 University of Science and Technology (UST), Daejeon, 34113, South Korea. 3 Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, 28644, South Korea. 4 Korea Institute of Environment Ecology, Daejeon, 34016, South Korea. 5 Infectious Disease Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology, Daejeon, 34141, South Korea. 6 University of Science and Technology (UST), Daejeon, 34113, South Korea. 7 Infectious Disease Research Center, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology, Daejeon, 34141, South Korea. 8 University of Science and Technology (UST), Daejeon, 34113, South Korea.



Aquatic birds are known to be a reservoir for the most common influenza A viruses (IAVs). In the annual surveillance program, we collected the feces of migratory birds for the detection of IAVs in South Korea in November 2016. A novel reassorted H3N3 avian influenza virus (AIV) containing genes from viruses of wild and domestic birds was identified and named A/aquatic bird/South Korea/sw006/2016(H3N3). The polymerase basic 2 (PB2) and non-structural (NS) genes of this isolate are most closely related to those of wild-bird-origin AIV, while the polymerase basic 1 (PB1), polymerase acidic (PA), hemagglutinin (HA), nucleoprotein (NP), neuraminidase (NA), and matrix (M) genes are most closely related to those of domestic-bird-origin AIV. A/aquatic bird/South Korea/sw006/2016 contains PA, NP, M, and NS genes were most closely related to those of AIV subtype H4 and PB2, PB1, and HA genes that are most closely related to those of AIV subtype H3N8, while the NA gene was most closely related to those of subtype H10, which was recently detected in humans in China. These results suggest that novel reassortment of AIV strains occurred due to interaction between wild and domestic birds. Hence, we emphasize the need for continued surveillance of avian influenza virus in bird populations.

PMID: 31456087 DOI: 10.1007/s00705-019-04386-8

Keywords: Avian Influenza; H3N3; H4; H10; H3N8; Wild Birds; S. Korea; Reassortant strain.