Circulation of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses in wild birds and poultry in the Netherlands, 2006-2016

Bergervoet, Saskia A.; Pritz-Verschuren, Sylvia B.E.; Gonzales, Jose L.; Bossers, Alex; Poen, Marjolein J.; Dutta, Jayeeta; Khan, Zenab; Kriti, Divya; Bakel, Harm van; Bouwstra, Ruth; Fouchier, Ron A.M.; Beerens, Nancy


In this study, we explore the circulation of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses in wild birds and poultry in the Netherlands. Surveillance data collected between 2006 and 2016 was used to evaluate subtype diversity, spatiotemporal distribution and genetic relationships between wild bird and poultry viruses. We observed close species-dependent associations among hemagglutinin and neuraminidase subtypes. Not all subtypes detected in wild birds were found in poultry, suggesting transmission to poultry is selective and likely depends on viral factors that determine host range restriction. Subtypes commonly detected in poultry were in wild birds most frequently detected in mallards and geese. Different temporal patterns in virus prevalence were observed between wild bird species. Virus detections in domestic ducks coincided with the prevalence peak in wild ducks, whereas virus detections in other poultry types were made throughout the year. Genetic analysis of the surface genes demonstrated that most poultry viruses were related to locally circulating wild bird viruses, but no direct spatiotemporal link was observed. Results indicate prolonged undetected virus circulation and frequent reassortment events with local and newly introduced viruses within the wild bird population. Increased knowledge on LPAI virus circulation can be used to improve surveillance strategies.