Linking avian communities and avian influenza ecology in southern Africa using epidemiological functional groups

Caron, Alexandre, de Garine-Wichatitsky, Michel, Ndlovu, Mduduzi, and Cumming, Graeme S. (2012) Linking avian communities and avian influenza ecology in southern Africa using epidemiological functional groups. Veterinary Research, 43 (1). pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

The ecology of pathogens, and particularly their emergence in multi-host systems, is complex. New approaches are needed to reduce superficial complexities to a level that still allows scientists to analyse underlying and more fundamental processes. One promising approach for simplification is to use an epidemiological-function classification to describe ecological diversity in a way that relates directly to pathogen dynamics. In this article, we develop and apply the epidemiological functional group (EFG) concept to explore the relationships between wild bird communities and avian influenza virus (AIV) in three ecosystems in southern Africa. Using a two year dataset that combined bird counts and bimonthly sampling for AIV, we allocated each bird species to a set of EFGs that captured two overarching epidemiological functions: the capacity of species to maintain AIV in the system, and their potential to introduce the virus. Comparing AIV prevalence between EFGs suggested that the hypothesis that anseriforms (ducks) and charadriiforms (waders) drive AIV epidemiology cannot entirely explain the high prevalence observed in some EFGs. If anseriforms do play an important role in AIV dynamics in each of the three ecosystems, the role of other species in the local maintenance of AIV cannot be ruled out. The EFG concept thus helped us to identify gaps in knowledge and to highlight understudied bird groups that might play a role in AIV epidemiology. In general, the use of EFGs has potential for generating a range of valuable insights in epidemiology, just as functional group approaches have done in ecology.

Item ID: 40958
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Additional Information:

© 2012 Caron et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ISSN: 1297-9716
Funders: USAID, Wildlife Conservation Society, DST/NRF Centre of Excellence at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute
Projects and Grants: Global Avian Influenza network for Surveillance (GRIPAVI) project
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2015 01:37
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 33%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070704 Veterinary Epidemiology @ 33%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0707 Veterinary Sciences > 070708 Veterinary Parasitology @ 34%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960404 Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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