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Wild bird surveillance for highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 in North America

October 2, 2015

It is unknown how the current Asian origin highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 viruses arrived, but these viruses are now poised to become endemic in North America. Wild birds harbor these viruses and have dispersed them at regional scales. What is unclear is how the viruses may be moving from the wild bird reservoir into poultry holdings. Active surveillance of live wild birds is likely the best way to determine the true distribution of these viruses. We also suggest that sampling be focused on regions with the greatest risk for poultry losses and attempt to define the mechanisms of transfer to enhance biosecurity. Responding to the recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in North America requires an efficient plan with clear objectives and potential management outcomes.

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