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Avian Diseases

Diseases such as avian influenza is endemic in wild populations of waterfowl and many other species of birds. The emergence and spread of a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Asia has elevated concerns about potential expansion of this virus to Pacific Islands and the Americas. Largely due to speculation that migratory birds are vectors, state and federal wildlife agencies have been called upon to develop an early detection system to determine if and when the virus arrives.

  • Surveillance efforts in the Pacific Ecoregion have been a collaborative effort between the USFWS Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office Invasive Species Program, US Geological Survey Honolulu Field Station and the US Department of Agriculture (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Wildlife Services) in Hawaii and Guam. The surveillance program has been extended in the Pacific through partnerships with the State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, Palau Conservation Society, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources in American Samoa. 

    Samples have been collected from shorebirds, ducks and geese in Hawaii, Territory of Guam and American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Marshall Islands, and Palau. The most commonly sampled species have been Pacific golden plovers, ruddy turnstones, Philippine turtle doves (Guam), and mallard ducks. Of the more than 11,000 samples collected in the Pacific Ecoregion since 2006, no HPAI has been detected. Current efforts have shifted primary attention towards investigating morbidity and mortality events throughout the Pacific Ecoregion.

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