Identifying Patterns of Influenza A Genotypes in Wild Birds

Authors: Zachary Palmer*, University of Iowa
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Biogeography
Keywords: Influenza, Birds, Medical Geography, Genetics, Landscape Genetics, Epidemiology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon B2, Sheraton 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Wild bird reservoirs of influenza A contribute to the overall genetic diversity of the illness and an increased range of endemic areas. Both of these increase the threat posed to human populations. Therefore, understanding the patterns of transmission of influenza A subtypes in avian hosts, as well as the environmental variables associated with transmission, is paramount to creating effective surveillance programs and forecasting potential areas of high genetic changes. Using a dataset of ~151,000 birds sample for avian influenza in the US and Canada from 1986-2017, we explore spatial patterns of influenza genotypes and model the environmental niches where certain types are found. Of the samples, 8.4% were positive for influenza A, of these 7015 were genotyped. H4N6 (18%) and H3N8 (17%) were the most frequently reported subtypes. Cluster analysis and niche modeling indicate overlap but also imperfect concordance between where these and other subtypes of avian influenza are found to circulate in wild bird populations. Landscape genetics methods combined with large-scale influenza genetic surveillance can indicate the patterns and drivers of avian influenza circulation and evolution across North America.

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