Surveillance for highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) in a raptor rehabilitation center—2022

Victoria Hall, Carol Cardona, Kristelle Mendoza, Mia Torchetti, Kristina Lantz, Irene Bueno Padilla, Dana Franzen-Klein

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An ongoing, severe outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAI) A H5N1 clade has been circulating in wild and domestic bird populations throughout the world, reaching North America in 2021. This HPAI outbreak has exhibited unique characteristics when compared to previous outbreaks. The global distribution of disease, prolonged duration, extensive number of species and individual wild birds affected, and the large impact on the global poultry industry have all exceeded historical impacts of previous outbreaks in North America. In this study, we describe the results of HPAI surveillance conducted at The Raptor Center, a wildlife rehabilitation hospital at University of Minnesota (Saint Paul, MN, U.S.A.), from March 28th–December 31, 2022. All wild raptors admitted to the facility were tested for avian influenza viruses using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. All non-negative samples were submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) National Veterinary Services Laboratories for confirmatory HPAI testing and genetic sequencing. During the study period, 996 individual birds representing 20 different species were tested for avian influenza, and 213 birds were confirmed HPAI positive. Highly pathogenic avian influenza surveillance conducted at The Raptor Center contributed 75% of the HPAI positive raptor detections within the state of Minnesota, located within the Mississippi flyway, significantly augmenting state wildlife surveillance efforts. The viral genotypes observed in birds sampled at The Raptor Center were representative of what was seen in wild bird surveillance within the Mississippi flyway during the same time frame. Wildlife rehabilitation centers provide an opportune situation to augment disease surveillance at the human, wildlife and domestic animal interface during ongoing infectious disease outbreaks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0299330
JournalPloS one
Issue number4 April
StatePublished - Apr 2024

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