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, Water and Environment 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 December 2019, over 109,000 wild birds have been tested for influenza viruses. To date, no high pathogenicity AIVs nor virulent strains of APMV-1 have been identified in 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 low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) H5 and H7 subtypes, in wild birds in Australia.
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