Gass JD Jr, Kellogg HK, Hill NJ, Puryear WB, Nutte. Epidemiology and Ecology of Influenza A Viruses among Wildlife in the Arctic. Viruses. 2022 Jul 13;14(7):1531
Arctic regions are ecologically significant for the environmental persistence and geographic dissemination of influenza A viruses (IAVs) by avian hosts and other wildlife species. Data describing the epidemiology and ecology of IAVs among wildlife in the arctic are less frequently published compared to southern temperate regions, where prevalence and subtype diversity are more routinely documented. Following PRISMA guidelines, this systematic review addresses this gap by describing the prevalence, spatiotemporal distribution, and ecological characteristics of IAVs detected among wildlife and the environment in this understudied region of the globe. The literature search was performed in PubMed and Google Scholar using a set of pre-defined search terms to identify publications reporting on IAVs in Arctic regions between 1978 and February 2022. A total of 2125 articles were initially screened, 267 were assessed for eligibility, and 71 articles met inclusion criteria. IAVs have been detected in multiple wildlife species in all Arctic regions, including seabirds, shorebirds, waterfowl, seals, sea lions, whales, and terrestrial mammals, and in the environment. Isolates from wild birds comprise the majority of documented viruses derived from wildlife; however, among all animals and environmental matrices, 26 unique low and highly pathogenic subtypes have been characterized in the scientific literature from Arctic regions. Pooled prevalence across studies indicates 4.23% for wild birds, 3.42% among tested environmental matrices, and seroprevalences of 9.29% and 1.69% among marine and terrestrial mammals, respectively. Surveillance data are geographically biased, with most data from the Alaskan Arctic and many fewer reports from the Russian, Canadian, North Atlantic, and Western European Arctic. We highlight multiple important aspects of wildlife host, pathogen, and environmental ecology of IAVs in Arctic regions, including the role of avian migration and breeding cycles for the global spread of IAVs, evidence of inter-species and inter-continental reassortment at high latitudes, and how climate change-driven ecosystem shifts, including changes in the seasonal availability and distribution of dietary resources, have the potential to alter host-pathogen-environment dynamics in Arctic regions. We conclude by identifying gaps in knowledge and propose priorities for future research.
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