Migration and population genetic data for northern pintails (Anas acuta) and phylogenetic analysis of low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses from this host in Alaska suggest that northern pintails are involved in ongoing intercontinental transmission of avian influenza. Here, we further refine this conclusion through phylogenetic analyses which demonstrate that detection of foreign lineage gene segments is spatially dependent and consistent through time. Our results show detection of foreign lineage gene segments to be most likely at sample locations on the Alaska Peninsula and least likely along the Southern Alaska Coast. Asian lineages detected at four gene segments persisted across years, suggesting maintenance in avian hosts that migrate to Alaska each year from Asia or in hosts that remain in Alaska throughout the year. Alternatively, live viruses may persist in the environment and re-infect birds in subsequent seasons.
Additional Publication Details
Intercontinental reassortment and genomic variation of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses isolated from northern pintails (Anas acuta) in Alaska: examining the evidence through space and time