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Migratory movements of waterfowl in Central Asia and avian influenza emergence

In this study, historical data derived from over 80 years of bird ringing are combined with recent satellite tracking data to delineate migration routes, movement chronology and habitat use patterns of waterfowl in relation to H5N1 outbreak locations. Results confirm migratory linkage between breeding and moulting areas in northern Kazakhstan and southern Siberia, with nonbreeding areas in the Caspian, Black and eastern Mediterranean Sea basins, as well as with South Asia. 

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Low pathogenic avian influenza H5N2 virus in wild birds in Nigeria in Africa.

We monitored avian influenza in wild and domestic birds in two different regions in Nigeria to investigate the presence and persistence of avian influenza virus in African birds. We found low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H5N2 viruses in three spur-winged geese (Plectropterus gambensis) in the Hadejia–Nguru wetlands. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that all of the genes, except the non-structural (NS) genes, of the LPAI H5N2 viruses were more closely related to genes recently found in wild and domestic birds in Europe.

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Flying over an infected landscape: distribution of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 risk in South Asia and satellite tracking of wild waterfowl.

This study suggests that the continental-scale dynamics of HPAI H5N1 are structured as a number of persistence areas delineated by domestic ducks, connected by rare transmission through migratory waterfowl.

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Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Europe: the risks associated with wild birds

The infection of wild birds by highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza (AI) virus was virtually unknown – apart from one instance of the disease appearing in common terns in South Africa in 1961 – before the Asian strain of highly pathogenic AI virus (AIV), H5N1, began to expand across the world. Outbreaks of clinical disease in Eurasia have resulted in visible mortality among populations of free-ranging wild birds in a multitude of species.

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Ornithological data relevant to the spread of Avian Influenza in Europe (Phase 2):

In northern winter and spring of 2005-2006, a project was carried out for the European Commission to identify species with a higher risk of introducing H5N1 from outside the EU to within EU borders. That desk study analysis was restricted to the predominantly migratory species belonging to the Anseriformes (ducks, geese and swans) and Charadriiformes (shorebirds, skuas, gulls and terns). 

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