Distinct lineages of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) are harboured by spatially segregated birds, yet significant surveillance gaps exist around the globe. Virtually nothing is known from the Antarctic.
|[Image: Thomas Pickard]|
Avian influenza viruses (AIVs) are typically maintained and spread by migratory birds, resulting in the existence of distinctly different viruses around the world. However, AIVs have not previously been detected in Antarctica. The study also showed that the genome diverged between 49 and 80 years ago from other AIVs, with several genes showing similarity and shared ancestry with equine Influenza(H3N8) viruses. This study provides the first insight into the ecology of AIVs in Antarctica and highlights the potential risk of an introduction of highly pathogenic AIVs into the continent.
The virus does not cause any visible illness in the penguins.
 Hurt et al: Detection of Evolutionarily Distinct Avian Influenza A Viruses in Antarctica in mBio - 2014
 Gonzáles-Reiche et al: Influenza a viruses from wild birds in Guatemala belong to the North American lineage in PLoS One - 2012
 Qui et al: Distribution of avian influenza virus subtypes among domestic ducks in eastern China in Wei Sheng Wu Xue Bao - 2008