Monitoring of influenza A viruses in wild bird populations in Kazakhstan in 2002-2009
A comprehensive influenza virus monitoring study of wild birds was carried out at important flyway resting places and wintering sites in Kazakhstan over eight years. More than 3200 birds belonging to 155 species were sampled. Nearly three-fourths of the birds belonged to the orders Anseriformes and Charadriiformes. In total, 118 hemagglutinating agents were isolated, and 95 of them were identified as influenza A viruses. The influenza viruses comprised eight different subtypes with a high prevalence of H13 and H3 viruses and also included low-pathogenic H5 viruses. The vast majority of the H13 viruses were isolated from members of the family Laridae, whereas the H3 viruses mostly originated from members of the family Anatidae, both in concordance with other monitoring studies. All virus isolates were recovered from cloacal swabs or fecal samples only. The influenza viruses were identified mainly in wetlands north of the Caspian Sea. These findings should be integrated in the design of further wild-bird-monitoring activities.