Wild waterfowl undertake a variety of long-distance flights during their migration. These flights provide birds with the opportunities to both acquire and disseminate avian influenza viruses (AIVs). The Asian portion of Russia is crossed by four major migration routes and represents the major breeding area for many wild bird species in the Palearctic. The Asian territory of Russia plays an important role in distribution, persistence, and evolution of AIVs due to the ecologic relationships of bird populations from Russia and different Asian, European, African, and North American countries. Our study highlights the results of surveillance conducted in 2008 for AIVs in wild birds in the Asian portion of Russia. During this study, our team collected and tested 5678 samples from wild birds. Among them, 41 samples tested positive for AIV with an isolation rate of 0.72%. The highest AIV prevalence, 1.49%, was found in Anseriformes. In Ardeidae and Laridae, the AIV prevalence was 1.23% and 0.64%, respectively. Rallidae showed the lowest AIV prevalence of 0.61%. Phylogenetic analysis of H3 and H4 subtypes represented close relationships of AIVs isolated from the Asian portion of Russia to the AI strains from Asia, Africa, and Europe. These findings were confirmed by the wild bird migration routes that affect bird populations from Eurasian, African, Australian, and North American continents.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3