Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/13/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Over the last ten years, an unprecedented amount of experimental and field research has expanded our understanding of AI virus infection in wild birds. The majority of this work, however, has specifically focused on H5N1 high pathogenicity avian influenza (HPAI) viruses, which is a biologically unique group of avian influenza (AI) viruses. While this research has provided necessary information to understand the ongoing HPAI epidemic in Eurasia and Africa, data interpretation has been hindered by gaps in our understanding on the natural history, epidemiology, and pathobiology of low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) viruses in wild birds. A common theme in medicine and diagnostics is that you must understand normal processes before you can recognize and interpret abnormal. As stated previously, the involvement of wild birds in the transmission and geographic spread of H5N1 HPAI is extremely rare. In order to recognize the important details and understand the magnitude of such an event, we need to gain a more complete picture on LPAI virus infection in various wild avian species. Consequently, there needs to be a “back to basics” approach to provide fundamental experimental data on LPAI virus infection in wild avian reservoirs. As a case in point, although Mallards are used extensively in experimental trials and generally regarded as the most important reservoir host for AI, the concentration of virus required to produce infection in this host species with any wild bird-origin LPAI virus strain is not known. The lack of such basic information on AI virus infection significantly limits our abilities to understand risks of viral transmission and maintenance in wild bird populations and, as mentioned above, properly evaluate atypical viruses.