Evalutation of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) as sentinels for detection of transmission of avian influenza viruses
Kistler, Whitney Michael
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Sentinel studies have been used to help understand transmission of numerous wildlife and zoonotic diseases, including avian influenza viruses (AIV). Previous AIV sentinels studies have increased our understanding of the epidemiology of AIV; however these previous studies are not practical for use on a large scale. This study used Canada geese (Branta canadensis) as sentinels to detect areas of AIV transmission on regional and local scales. For this evaluation 3,207 serum samples from nine states (Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, and West Virginia) were analyzed with two serological assays: agar gel immunodiffusion and blocking enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. An increasing trend in antibody prevalence was seen as latitude increased. This increasing trend is also seen in virus isolations of dabbling ducks. Furthermore, significant differences were detected between areas <6km apart. These results indicate that Canada geese can be used effectively as sentinels for AIV on both a regional and local scales.