Movements of birds and avian influenza from Asia into Alaska

Kevin Winker, Kevin G. McCracken, Daniel D. Gibson, Christin L. Pruett, Rose Meier, Falk Huettmann, Michael Wege, Irina V. Kulikova, Yuri N. Zhuravlev, Michael L. Perdue, Erica Spackman, David L. Suarez, David E. Swayne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Asian-origin avian influenza (AI) viruses are spread in part by migratory birds. In Alaska, diverse avian hosts from Asia and the Americas overlap in a region of intercontinental avifaunal mixing. This region is hypothesized to be a zone of Asia-to-America virus transfer because birds there can mingle in waters contaminated by wild-bird-origin AI viruses. Our 7 years of AI virus surveillance among waterfowl and shorebirds in this region (1998-2004; 8,254 samples) showed remarkably low infection rates (0.06%). Our findings suggest an Arctic effect on viral ecology, caused perhaps by low ecosystem productivity and low host densities relative to available water. Combined with a synthesis of avian diversity and abundance, intercontinental host movements, and genetic analyses, our results suggest that the risk and probably the frequency of intercontinental virus transfer in this region are relatively low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-552
Number of pages6
JournalEmerging infectious diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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