Situated at the crossroads of numerous migratory routes of Palaearctic birds, the Camargue is considered a high-risk area for the introduction and transmission of numerous avian-borne pathogens. We investigated the epidemiologic cycles of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in the local bird community by performing regular sampling on a large variety of bird species during 11 consecutive months in 2006–07. To detect the presence of AIV, SYBR green reverse transcriptase–PCR targeting the M gene was performed on 2901 samples from 66 bird species. A clear seasonal pattern of AIV circulation in ducks was observed during autumn and winter, with higher prevalence rates in early fall. Our results also support an absence of circulation of AIV in passerine birds during spring and the wintering periods. Finally, even if the prevalence of infection was very low, AIVs were found in gulls in breeding colonies, indicating a possible specific circulation in spring in these birds.
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Vol. 54 • No. s1