There are nine serotypes of avian paramyxovirus (APMV), including APMV-1, or Newcastle disease virus. Although free-flying ducks and geese have been extensively monitored for APMV, limited information is available for species in the order Charadriiformes. From 2000 to 2005 we tested cloacal swabs from 9,128 shorebirds and gulls (33 species, five families) captured in 10 states within the USA and in three countries in the Caribbean and South America. Avian paramyxoviruses were isolated from 60 (0.7%) samples by inoculation of embryonating chicken eggs; isolates only included APMV-1 and APMV-2. Two isolates (APMV-2) were made from gulls and 58 isolates (APMV-1 [41 isolates] and APMV-2 [17 isolates]) were made from shorebirds. All of the positive shorebirds were sampled at Delaware Bay (Delaware and New Jersey) and 45 (78%) of these isolates came from Ruddy Turnstones (Arenaria interpres). The APMV-1 infection rate was higher among Ruddy Turnstones compared with other shorebird species and varied by year. Avian paramyxovirus-2 was isolated from two of 394 (0.5%) Ruddy Turnstones at Delaware Bay in 2001 and from 13 of 735 (1.8%) Ruddy Turnstones during 2002. For both APMV-1 and APMV-2, infection rates were higher among Ruddy Turnstones sampled on the south shore of Delaware Bay compared to north shore populations. This spatial variation may be related to local movements of Ruddy Turnstones within this ecosystem. The higher prevalence of APMV in Ruddy Turnstones mirrors results observed for avian influenza viruses in shorebirds and may suggest similar modes of transmission.

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