Gene Segment Reassortment Between American and Asian Lineages of Avian Influenza Virus from Waterfowl in the Beringia Area

J Wahlgren, J Waldenstrom, S Sahlin, PD Haemig, Ron Fouchier, Ab Osterhaus, J Pinhassi, J Bonnedahl, M Pisareva, M Grudinin, O Kiselev, J Hernandez, KI Falk, A Lundkvist, B Olsen

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Since prehistoric times, the Bering Strait area (Beringia) has served as all avenue of dispersal between the Old and the New Worlds. On a field expedition to this area, we collected fecal samples from dabbling ducks, geese, shorebirds, and gulls on the Chukchi Peninsula, Siberia, and Pt. Barrow, Alaska, and characterized the sub-types of avian influenza virus present in them. Four of 202 samples (2%) from Alaska were positive for influenza A virus RNA in two independent polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based screening assays, while all shorebird samples from the Chukchi Peninsula were negative. Subtypes H3N8 and H6N1 were recorded once, while subtype H8N4 was found in two samples. Full-length sequences were obtained from the three unique isolates, and phylogenetic analysis with representative sequences for the Eurasian and North American lineages of influenza A virus showed that one HA gene Clustered with the Eurasian rather than the North American lineage. However, the closest relative to this sequence was a North American isolate from Delaware described in 2002, indicating that a H6 spillover from Asia has established itself in North America.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)783-790
Number of pages8
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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  • EMC MM-04-27-01

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