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Individual variation in influenza a virus infection histories and long-term immune responses in mallards

Tolf C., Latorre-Margalef N., Wille M., Bengtsson D., Gunnarsson G., Grosbois V., Hasselquist D., Olsen B., Elmberg J., Waldenström J.. 2013. PloS One, 8 (4) : 9 p..

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061201

Wild dabbling ducks (genus Anas) are the main reservoir for influenza A virus (IAV) in the Northern Hemisphere. Current understanding of disease dynamics and epidemiology in this virus-host system has primarily been based on populationlevel surveillance studies and infection experiments conducted in laboratory settings. Using a combined experimentalnatural approach with wild-strain captive mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), we monitored individual IAV infection histories and immunological responses of 10 birds over the course of 15 months. This is the first detailed study to track natural IAV infection histories over several seasons amongst the same individuals growing from juvenile to adults. The general trends in the infection histories of the monitored birds reflected seasonal variation in prevalence at the population level. However, within the study group there were significant differences between individuals in infection frequency as well as in short and long term anti-IAV antibody response. Further observations included individual variation in the number of infecting virus subtypes, and a strong tendency for long-lasting hemagglutinin-related homosubtypic immunity. Specifically, all infections in the second autumn, except one, were of different subtypes compared to the first autumn. The variation among birds concerning these epidemiologically important traits illustrates the necessity for IAV studies to move from the level of populations to examine individuals in order to further our understanding of IAV disease and epidemiology.

Mots-clés : anas; canard; influenzavirus aviaire; histoire naturelle; Épidémiologie; immunologie; enquête pathologique; infection; anas platyrhynchos

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