Last winter the northern hemisphere saw some of the worst outbreaks of avian influenza, or ‘bird flu’, ever experienced.
Canada and the United States reported more than 400 outbreaks of severe bird flu affecting more than 40 million birds, both poultry and wild birds. These outbreaks came after the same virus strain swept through Asia, Africa and Europe in late 2021. It caused widespread outbreaks and millions of deaths in poultry and wild birds.
What might this mean for Australia? Will we see similar outbreaks? Whilst the risk of the same strain arriving in Australia is lower compared to the continents affected so far, we need to remain vigilant to the possibility of incursions because the virus continues to evolve and change.
Until recently, studies of waterbirds in the northern hemisphere provided most of our understanding of the ecology and evolution of avian influenza viruses in Australia’s wild birds. But Australia’s wild waterbirds, like duck and geese, face different environmental conditions and don’t show the same migratory behaviour as their northern hemisphere cousins.
Read the full article at https://ecos.csiro.au/understanding-bird-flu-dynamics-in-australia/