Ecology of avian influenza viruses in a changing world

Kurt J. Vandegrift, Susanne H. Sokolow, Peter Daszak, A. Marm Kilpatrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

110 Scopus citations


Influenza A virus infections result in ∼500,000 human deaths per year and many more sublethal infections. Wild birds are recognized as the ancestral host of influenza A viruses, and avian viruses have contributed genetic material to most human viruses, including subtypes H5N1 and H1N1. Thus, influenza virus transmission in wild and domestic animals and humans is intimately connected. Here we review how anthropogenic change, including human population growth, land use, climate change, globalization of trade, agricultural intensification, and changes in vaccine technology may alter the evolution and transmission of influenza viruses. Evidence suggests that viral transmission in domestic poultry, spillover to other domestic animals, wild birds and humans, and the potential for subsequent pandemic spread, are all increasing. We highlight four areas in need of research: drivers of viral subtype dynamics; ecological and evolutionary determinants of transmissibility and virulence in birds and humans; the impact of changing land use and climate on hosts, viruses, and transmission; and the impact of influenza viruses on wild bird hosts, including their ability to migrate while shedding virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Year in Ecology and Conservation Biology 2010
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781573317917
StatePublished - May 2010

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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