SUMMARY

Aquatic wild birds, especially waterfowl, have been long considered the main reservoirs of the avian influenza A virus; however, recent surveys have found an important prevalence of these viruses among land birds as well. Migration has been suggested as an important factor in the avian influenza virus dissemination. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of influenza A viruses in wild birds (waterbirds and land birds; resident and migratory) in eastern Mexico, where the three main North American migration flyways converge and where there was no previous information on this subject. We detected influenza with reverse transcription coupled with a PCR approach. Of the 534 birds sampled between 2010 and 2012, we detected the influenza A virus in a high proportion of birds (39%). Prevalence was particularly high in land birds (49%) when compared to aquatic birds (26%); there was no difference in overall prevalence between resident (39%) and migratory birds (39%). The high prevalence of the avian influenza virus in land birds was noteworthy in the innermost sampling areas in northern Mexico (Coahuila [82%] and Nuevo Leon [43%]).

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