Avian Influenza Wild Bird Surveillance

In 2006, the National Avian Influenza Wild Bird (NAIWB) Steering Group was established to ensure national coordination and collaboration of wild bird avian influenza surveillance activities. WHA provides support to the NAIWB Steering Group and collates avian influenza (AI) surveillance data from wild birds sampled across Australia. The NAIWB Steering Group meets quarterly via teleconference with one annual face to face meeting. In 2017, surveillance activities included testing for Avian Paramyxoviruses (APMVs), predominantly targeting the APMV-1.

The NAIWB Surveillance Program activities are conducted Australia-wide, with funding provided by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and in 2011/12 funding from the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Chicken Meat Program. Significant in-kind support is provided by the jurisdictional agencies, researchers and representative’s institutions.

The NAIWB Surveillance Program has two main components: targeted surveillance and general surveillance. Targeted surveillance, for AI , will continue to focus on sampling from Anseriformes (waterfowl), specifically from locations where there is known mixing with birds from the Charadriiformes (shorebirds) Order and that bring waterfowl into close proximity to poultry and humans. Where possible, surveillance will continue in locations previously sampled to obtain longitudinal data. General surveillance focuses on exclusion of AIV and APMVs from mass mortality and morbidity events in wild birds around Australia and the Australian Antarctic Territory. 

Between July 2005 and June 2018, over 105,000 wild birds have been tested for influenza viruses. To date, no highly pathogenic AIVs nor virulent strains of APMV-1 have been identified Australian wild birds. However, targeted surveillance activities continue to result in evidence of a wide range of subtypes of AI viruses of low pathogenicity. Almost all AIV subtypes have been detected, including LPAI H5 and H7 subtypes, in wild birds in Australia. 

For more information please contact admin@wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au 

Objectives of the 2018 NAIWB Surveillance Program

Detect avian influenza in wild birds,
2. Contribute to a better understanding of AI phylogeny and gene flow of subtypes, ecology and epidemiology to support industry and human and wildlife health strategic risk assessment and management,
3.  Maintain national AI laboratory diagnostic capacity and capability,
4.  Sharing and communication of data nationally and globally,
5.  Contribute to One Health through regular communication of AI virus data to the Department of Health with specific analysis of wild bird AIVs for likelihood of infection and transmission in humans, and
6. Exclude AIV, specifically H5 and H7, as well as APMVs, specifically virulent strains, in mass mortality events in wild birds.

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