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Determine Baseline Rates of Avian Pathogens in Wild Birds in Alaska and Pacific Rim Countries for Homeland Security Surveillance


The objective of this cooperative research project is to determine the baseline rates of viruses and their transport among the intercontinental avian migrants occurring between Northwestern North America and Pacific Rim countries. This will establish baseline data on what virus strains are present, where they occur, and what vectors are carrying them which is crucial for recognizing the natural state of this virus delivery system and its impact on molecular epidemiology

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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 viruses (avian influenza, Newcastle's disease and other paramyxoviruses). 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.
<p> PROGRESS- 2003/10 TO 2004/09
4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? This report serves to document research conducted under a specific cooperative agreement between ARS and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. Additional details of research can be found in the report for the parent CRIS (6612-32000-041-00X), Development and Validation of Rapid Diagnostic Tests for Avian Influenza and Newcastle Disease. A major question when monitoring for an agroterrorist event is determining if a newly recognized strains of avian influenza or Newcastle disease viruses infecting poultry emerged from a natural wild bird reservoir or was purposely introduced into the United States. Wild shorebirds from Alaska and several international study sites were sampled for the presence of avian influenza and Newcastle disease viruses. During FY 2004, 1,133 fecal swabs were collected from wild birds and analyzed by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR) for avian influenza viruses. No avian influenza viruses were identified. However, samples collected in FY2003 were analyzed by RRT-PCR and one avian influenza viruses was detected from Bolivia This collection of materials provides sequence data source for differentiating indigenous from foreign- source avian influenza and Newcastle disease viruses.

Seal, Bruce; Suarez, David; Winker, Kevin; Swayne, David
University of Alaska
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