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Avian Influenza Virus Ecology and Phylogenetics in Wild Birds


The objective of this cooperative research project is to conduct avian influenza virus sampling among wild migratory birds moving between the United States (especially northwestern North America) and Pacific Rim countries. This information will indicate what virus strains are present, where they occur, which vectors are carrying them, and indicate critical aspects of viral ecology, all of which are crucial for understanding the natural state of this virus delivery system and its impacts on molecular epidemiology, especially in natural ecosystems and viral source reservoirs.

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APPROACH: University of Alaska Fairbanks will conduct the field efforts to provide USDA with wild bird samples (intestinal and respiratory swabs) to screen for avian influenza virus. University of Alaska Fairbanks will also process and archive specimen voucher samples of the avian vectors and conduct genetic laboratory work on some of the vector species to gain a better understanding of the vectors themselves - identifying population-specific characteristics and intercontinental rates of effective movement.

Winker, Kevin; Spackman, Erica
University of Alaska
USDA - Agricultural Research Service
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