Background: Avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (APMV-1) viruses are globally distributed, infect wild, peridomestic, and domestic birds, and sometimes lead to outbreaks of disease. Thus, the maintenance, evolution, and spread of APMV-1 viruses are relevant to avian health.
Methods: In this study we sequenced the fusion gene from 58 APMV-1 isolates recovered from thirteen species of wild birds sampled throughout the USA during 2007-2014. We analyzed sequence information with previously reported data in order to assess contemporary genetic diversity and inter-taxa/inter-region exchange of APMV-1 in wild birds sampled in North America.
Results: Our results suggest that wild birds maintain previously undescribed genetic diversity of APMV-1; however, such diversity is unlikely to be pathogenic to domestic poultry. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that APMV-1 diversity detected in wild birds of North America has been found in birds belonging to numerous taxonomic host orders and within hosts inhabiting multiple geographic regions suggesting some level of viral exchange. However, our results also provide statistical support for associations between phylogenetic tree topology and host taxonomic order/region of sample origin which supports restricted exchange among taxa and geographical regions of North America for some APMV-1 sub-genotypes.
Conclusions: We identify previously unrecognized genetic diversity of APMV-1 in wild birds in North America which is likely a function of continued viral evolution in reservoir hosts. We did not, however, find support for the emergence or maintenance of APMV-1 strains predicted to be pathogenic to poultry in wild birds of North America outside of the order Suliformes (i.e., cormorants). Furthermore, genetic evidence suggests that ecological drivers or other mechanisms may restrict viral exchange among taxa and regions of North America. Additional and more systematic sampling for APMV-1 in North America would likely provide further inference on viral dynamics for this infectious agent in wild bird populations.
Keywords: APMV-1; Avian paramyxovirus serotype 1; Exchange; Genetic diversity; Migratory bird; Newcastle disease; Order; Region; Taxa; Wild bird.