A Review of Avian Influenza A Virus Associations in Synanthropic Birds

Viruses. 2020 Oct 23;12(11):1209. doi: 10.3390/v12111209.


Avian influenza A viruses (IAV) have received significant attention due to the threat they pose to human, livestock, and wildlife health. In this review, we focus on what is known about IAV dynamics in less common avian species that may play a role in trafficking IAVs to poultry operations. Specifically, we focus on synanthropic bird species. Synanthropic species, otherwise known as peridomestic, are species that are ecologically associated with humans and anthropogenically modified landscapes, such as agricultural and urban areas. Aquatic birds such as waterfowl and shorebirds are the species most commonly associated with avian IAVs, and are generally considered the reservoir or maintenance hosts in the natural ecology of these viruses. Waterfowl and shorebirds are occasionally associated with poultry facilities, but are uncommon or absent in many areas, especially large commercial operations. In these cases, spillover hosts that share resources with both maintenance hosts and target hosts such as poultry may play an important role in introducing wild bird viruses onto farms. Consequently, our focus here is on what is known about IAV dynamics in synanthropic hosts that are commonly found on both farms and in nearby habitats, such as fields, lakes, wetlands, or riparian areas occupied by waterfowl or shorebirds.

Keywords: European starling; avian; crow; house sparrow; influenza A virus; passerine; peridomestic; pigeon; synanthropic; wildlife–agriculture interface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / virology
  • Animals, Wild / virology*
  • Birds / classification
  • Birds / virology*
  • Influenza A virus / physiology*
  • Influenza in Birds / transmission*
  • Poultry / virology*