Long-term variation in influenza A virus prevalence and subtype diversity in migratory mallards in northern Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Data on long-term circulation of pathogens in wildlife populations are seldom collected, and hence understanding of spatial-temporal variation in prevalence and genotypes is limited. Here, we analysed a long-term surveillance series on influenza A virus (IAV) in mallards collected at an important migratory stopover site from 2002 to 2010, and characterized seasonal dynamics in virus prevalence and subtype diversity. Prevalence dynamics were influenced by year, but retained a common pattern for all years whereby prevalence was low in spring and summer, but increased in early autumn with a first peak in August, and a second more pronounced peak during October-November. A total of 74 haemagglutinin (HA)/neuraminidase (NA) combinations were isolated, including all NA and most HA (H1-H12) subtypes. The most common subtype combinations were H4N6, H1N1, H2N3, H5N2, H6N2 and H11N9, and showed a clear linkage between specific HA and NA subtypes. Furthermore, there was a temporal structuring of subtypes within seasons based on HA phylogenetic relatedness. Dissimilar HA subtypes tended to have different temporal occurrence within seasons, where the subtypes that dominated in early autumn were rare in late autumn, and vice versa. This suggests that build-up of herd immunity affected IAV dynamics in this system.


  • Neus Latorre-Margalef
  • Conny Tolf
  • Vladimir Grosbois
  • Alexis Avril
  • Daniel Bengtsson
  • Michelle Wille
  • Albert D. M. E. Osterhaus
  • Ron A. M. Fouchier
  • Björn Olsen
  • Jonas Waldenström
External organisations
  • Linnaeus University
  • Agricultural research for develompent (CIRAD) Centre de Recherche de Montpellier
  • Uppsala University
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology
  • Immunology


  • Disease dynamics, Diversity, Host-pathogen interactions, Influenza A virus, Mallards, Prevalence
Original languageEnglish
Article number20140098
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1781
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 26
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes