Discordant detection of avian influenza virus subtypes in time and space between poultry and wild birds; Towards improvement of surveillance programs

Verhagen, Josanne H.; Lexmond, Pascal; Vuong, Oanh; Schutten, Martin; Guldemeester, Judith; Osterhaus, Albert D.M.E.; Elbers, Armin R.W.; Slaterus, Roy; Hornman, Menno; Koch, Guus; Fouchier, Ron A.M.; Lierz, Michael


Avian influenza viruses from wild birds can cause outbreaks in poultry, and occasionally infect humans upon exposure to infected poultry. Identification and characterization of viral reservoirs and transmission routes is important to develop strategies that prevent infection of poultry, and subsequently virus transmission between poultry holdings and to humans. Based on spatial, temporal and phylogenetic analyses of data generated as part of intense and large-scale influenza surveillance programs in wild birds and poultry in the Netherlands from 2006 to 2011, we demonstrate that LPAIV subtype distribution differed between wild birds and poultry, suggestive of host-range restrictions. LPAIV isolated from Dutch poultry were genetically most closely related to LPAIV isolated from wild birds in the Netherlands or occasionally elsewhere in Western Europe. However, a relatively long time interval was observed between the isolations of related viruses from wild birds and poultry. Spatial analyses provided evidence for mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) being more abundant near primary infected poultry farms. Detailed year-round investigation of virus prevalence and wild bird species distribution and behavior near poultry farms should be used to improve risk assessment in relation to avian influenza virus introduction and retarget avian influenza surveillance programs