Understanding the viral ecology and epidemiology of the current pandemic of HPAI is a continual challenge to the scientific veterinary and medical community. The scientific community response to the recent outbreaks of HPAI in Eurasia demonstrates a lack of timely knowledge and understanding of the ecology of AI viruses in avian hosts that are wild and highly mobile, often over vast geographic areas. To explain the complex interactions of AI virus with avian hosts requires comprehensive scientific research data on viral ecology, epidemiology, immunological host responses and biology of wild birds. This lack of global knowledge presents significant research opportunity for scientists. The outcomes from current applied research will be fundamental to understanding HPAI and LPAI virus ecology and epidemiology in wild birds. This knowledge will deliver enhanced global capacity to more effectively predict and control further outbreaks of HPAI. Ultimately this will protect avian production and food systems and mitigate risk to biodiversity and human health, with immeasurable socio-economic benefits.
This research project aims to provide information highly relevant to Australia’s risk assessment for the introduction of exotic AI viruses by a wild bird pathway. Retrospective and prospective analysis of surveillance data from NAQS surveys across northern Australia will be used to assess spatio-temporal risk of exotic AI introduction from two different bio-groups of birds (shorebird and waterfowl) and assess interaction potential and risk of virus spread, from surveillance data and observational movement data.