Transmission of influenza reflects seasonality of wild birds across the annual cycle

Ecology Letters
By: , and 

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Abstract

Influenza A Viruses (IAV) in nature must overcome shifting transmission barriers caused by the mobility of their primary host, migratory wild birds, that change throughout the annual cycle. Using a phylogenetic network of viral sequences from North American wild birds (2008–2011) we demonstrate a shift from intraspecific to interspecific transmission that along with reassortment, allows IAV to achieve viral flow across successive seasons from summer to winter. Our study supports amplification of IAV during summer breeding seeded by overwintering virus persisting locally and virus introduced from a wide range of latitudes. As birds migrate from breeding sites to lower latitudes, they become involved in transmission networks with greater connectivity to other bird species, with interspecies transmission of reassortant viruses peaking during the winter. We propose that switching transmission dynamics may be a critical strategy for pathogens that infect mobile hosts inhabiting regions with strong seasonality.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Transmission of influenza reflects seasonality of wild birds across the annual cycle
Series title Ecology Letters
DOI 10.1111/ele.12629
Volume 19
Issue 8
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center Biology WTEB
Description 11 p.
First page 915
Last page 925