IAB Research Project Description

Prevalence and Effects of Avian Influenza in Waterfowl

Credit: Photo courtesy of Mark Lindberg

Credit: Photo courtesy of Mark Lindberg

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Wild birds that inhabit wetlands and aquatic environments, particularly waterfowl, gulls and shorebirds, are thought to form the major natural reservoir for avian influenza A virus.

Infection rates of up to 60 percent have been identified in North American duck populations and infection rate of 25 percent were reported for Minto Flats State Game Refuge in Interior Alaska.

In contrast to high pathogenic subtypes, which may cause severe illness and death, most virus subtypes isolated in wild birds are considered low pathogenic and are generally thought to have little or no effect on fitness reported effects ranged from subclinical to mild respiratory disease.

Most information on the pathogenicity of influenza virus subtypes, however, is based on experimental infection in captive birds and few studies have investigated the effects of influenza viruses on wild birds.

Lindberg and his team plans to obtain viral samples from wild ducks throughout the year at multiple locations in North America and to obtain samples from nesting waterfowl in western North Dakota and during early fall in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Project Funding

U.S. Geological Survey
15 May 2008 – 31 May 2012
IAB Proposal #08-095
UAF Grant #G4974
IAB Project #151

Media Contact

Marie Thoms
Communications/Web Manager
Institute of Arctic Biology
302A Irving I
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
email: methoms@alaska.edu
phone: 907.474.7412