The role of many wild waterbird species in the ecology and epidemiology of avian influenza viruses (AIV) remains unclear. We report the first isolation of AIV from American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythror-hynchos; Pelecaniformes) in North America. Two H13N9 AIVs were isolated from hatchling birds in breeding colonies in Minnesota, USA, during 2007 and 2008. Based on molecular sequencing of the hemagglutinin and neur-aminidase genes, the 2008 virus was genetically related to AIVs previously isolated from gulls and shorebirds in North America. The 2007 isolate was most related to AIVs from Eurasian gulls and North American ducks, reflecting both global movement of these viruses and reassortment between viruses associated with duck and gull reservoirs.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4