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Fujian H5N2 In Dead Kansas Canada Goose
Recombinomics Commentary
April 6, 2015 23:45

Wild bird populations in Kansas appear to be unaffected by an outbreak of avian influenza, although one wild goose suspected of having the disease has been tested for it, the state's wildlife disease official said Wednesday.

Those test results from a goose found in Lyon County along the Cottonwood River are not expected for a couple of days, said Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.

The above comments describe the Lyon County (see H5N2 map) Canada goose that was H5N2 confirmed on March 27, 2015.  Like the Canada goose in Laramie County, Wyoming, detection required a dead or dying bird.  Similarly, additional March 27 confirmations identified H5N2 in dead or dying falcons fed wild birds from Flathead County, Montana or Jefferson County, Missouri, although the Montana H5N2 was said to be from a bird hunter killed in December, 2014.

Thus, all four examples involve H5N2 confirmations outside of the Pacific Flyway and highlight detection failures in December, or Central/Mississippi Flyway cases that were not predicted by the geographically limited enhanced surveillance, which confirmed H5 in 49 wild birds during hunting season in the Pacific Flyway.

These 49 confirmations were heavily dependent on hunter killed birds and positives abruptly stopped when the winter hunting season ended. 

The spring season offers a new opportunity of testing hunter killed birds in the Midwest, but testing is projected to be limited.  Iowa has announced the testing of 150 hunter killed snow geese and some additional testing by other states in the area is expected. However, enhanced testing by the USGS-NWHC in the northwest identified 7 positives from the testing of more than 1200 wild birds, suggesting 200 birds are required to yield 1 positive based on the earlier testing.  In some cases, positive frequencies were significantly higher (6 positives at Umatilla Refuge in Morrow County, Oregon where few than 100 birds were tested). 

The detection of H5N2 in Canada geese via routine testing suggest that the frequency may be high in the Midwest, although no positives were reported in snow geese in the western enhanced surveillance. The recent detections of H5N2 in Canada geese or falcons during routine surveillance, signals the presence of H5N2 in the Midwest which does not require jumps from the northwest to the Midwest or movement from the north to south in the spring

The north to south movement was in the fall, when routine surveillance failed to detect the movement.  The absence of enhanced surveillance in the spring will yield fewer wild bird positives in the spring, but the explosion in confirmations in commercial turkey farms signals an increased frequency in the spring, with significant movement to the north in the spring and then return to the south in the fall, but over a markedly wider geographic area.

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