Antarctic Science


Mounting evidence for the presence of influenza A virus in the avifauna of the Antarctic region

Anders Wallensten a1a2, Vincent J. Munster a3, Albert D.M.E. Osterhaus a3, Jonas Waldenström a4a7, Jonas Bonnedahl a5, Tina Broman a6, Ron A.M. Fouchier a3 and Björn Olsen a5a7c1
a1 Smedby Health Center, Kalmar County Council, SE-39471 Kalmar, Sweden
a2 Division of Virology, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine (IMK) Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden
a3 Department of Virology and National Influenza Center, Erasmus Medical Center, Dr Molewaterplein 50, 3015 GE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
a4 Department of Animal Ecology, Ecology Building, Lund University, SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden
a5 Department of Infectious Diseases, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
a6 Department of NBC Analysis, Swedish Defence Research Agency, NBC Defence, SE-901 82 Umeå, Sweden
a7 Department of Biology and Environmental Science, Section for Zoonotic Ecology and Epidemiology, Kalmar University, SE-391 82 Kalmar, Sweden

Article author query
wallensten a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
munster vj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
osterhaus adme   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
waldenström j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
bonnedahl j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
broman t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
fouchier ram   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
olsen b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Penguin blood samples collected at Bird Island, sub-Antarctic South Georgia, and faecal samples taken from penguins at several localities along the Antarctic Peninsula were analysed in order to investigate if influenza A virus is present in penguin populations in the South Atlantic Antarctic region. Serology was performed on the blood samples while the faecal samples were screened by a RT-PCR method directed at the matrix protein gene for determining the presence of influenza A virus. All faecal samples were negative by PCR, but the blood samples gave serologic indications that influenza A virus is present amongst these penguin species, confirming previous studies, although the virus has still not been isolated from any bird in the Antarctic region.

(Received May 3 2005)
(Accepted April 10 2006)

Key Words: avian influenza; RT-PCR; serology; sub-Antarctica.

c1 Corresponding author: