Twenty avian influenza viruses were isolated from seven wild migratory bird species sampled at St. Lawrence Island, Alaska. We tested predictions based on previous phylogenetic analyses of avian influenza viruses that support spatially dependent trans-hemispheric gene flow and frequent interspecies transmission at a location situated at the Asian–North American interface. Through the application of phylogenetic and genotypic approaches, our data support functional dilution by distance of trans-hemispheric reassortants and interspecific virus transmission. Our study confirms infection of divergent avian taxa with nearly identical avian influenza strains in the wild. Findings also suggest that H16N3 viruses may contain gene segments with unique phylogenetic positions and that further investigation of how host specificity may impact transmission of H13 and H16 viruses is warranted.
Additional Publication Details
Transmission and reassortment of avian influenza viruses at the Asian-North American interface