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Wild ducks are the reservoir for only a limited number of influenza A subtypes

  • G. B. Sharp (a1), Y. Kawaoka (a2), S. M. Wright (a2), B. Turner (a3), V. Hinshaw (a4) and R. G. Webster (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2009

Analysis of cloacal samples collected from 12321 wild ducks in Alberta, Canada, from 1976 to 1990 showed influenza A infections to be seasonal, with prevalences increasing as the population became increasingly more dense. Viruses with 3 haemagglutinin (H3, H4, and H6) and 3 neuraminidase subtypes (N2, N6, and N8) were found consistently to infect both adult and juvenile ducks each year, indicating that wild ducks may be a reservoir for these viruses. In contrast, viruses with 7 haemagglutinin (H2, H5, H7, H8, H9, H11, and H12) and 3 neuraminidase subtypes (N1, N3, and N4) were not found for prolonged periods during the study; when they were found, they primarily infected juveniles at moderate levels. Whilst wild ducks appear to perpetuate some influenza A viruses, they apparently do not act as a reservoir for all such viruses.

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17.Y Kawaoka . TM Chambers . WL Sladen . RG Webster . Is the gene pool of influenza viruses in shorebirds and gulls different from that in wild ducks? Virology 1988: 163: 247–50.

21.DE Stallknecht . SM Shane . PJ Zwank . DA Senne . MT Kearney . Avian influenza viruses from migratory and resident ducks of coastal Louisiana. Avaian Dis 1990; 34: 398405.

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