Influenza a viruses from wild birds in Guatemala belong to the North American lineage

Ana S. González-Reiche, María E. Morales-Betoulle, Danilo Alvarez, Jean Luc Betoulle, Maria L. Müller, Silvia M. Sosa, Daniel R. Perez

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41 Scopus citations


The role wild bird species play in the transmission and ecology of avian influenza virus (AIV) is well established; however, there are significant gaps in our understanding of the worldwide distribution of these viruses, specifically about the prevalence and/or significance of AIV in Central and South America. As part of an assessment of the ecology of AIV in Guatemala, we conducted active surveillance in wild birds on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. Cloacal and tracheal swab samples taken from resident and migratory wild birds were collected from February 2007 to January 2010.1913 samples were collected and virus was detected by real time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) in 28 swab samples from ducks (Anas discors). Virus isolation was attempted for these positive samples, and 15 isolates were obtained from the migratory duck species Blue-winged teal. The subtypes identified included H7N9, H11N2, H3N8, H5N3, H8N4, and H5N4. Phylogenetic analysis of the viral sequences revealed that AIV isolates are highly similar to viruses from the North American lineage suggesting that bird migration dictates the ecology of these viruses in the Guatemalan bird population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32873
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
StatePublished - 13 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes


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