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McCracken, Kevin G.

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Asian-origin avian influenza (AI) viruses are spread in part by migratory birds. In Alaska, diverse avian hosts from Asia and the Americas overlap in a region of intercontinental avifaunal mixing. This region is hypothesized to be a zone of Asia-to-America virus transfer because birds there can mingle in waters contaminated by wild-bird-origin AI viruses. Our 7 years of AI virus surveillance among waterfowl and shorebirds in this region (1998-2004; 8,254 samples) showed remarkably low infection rates (0.06%). Our findings suggest an Arctic effect on viral ecology, caused perhaps by low ecosystem productivity and low host densities relative to available water. Combined with a synthesis of avian diversity and abundance,...
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