Do Canada geese (Branta canadensis Linnaeus, 1758) carry infectious agents for birds and man?

Abstract

Currently, large groups of Canada geese (Branta canadensis Linnaeus, 1758) aggregate in recreational areas of north-western Germany. Questions have arisen as to whether these birds represent a special risk factor as a source of zoonotic agents for humans and as a source of viruses, causing notifiable or reportable diseases, for domestic poultry and waterfowl. To answer these questions, a total of 289 eggs were collected in 2002 and 2003 on a recreation site and assayed. Chlamydia psittaci was not isolated and neither was chlamydial antigen detected by polymerase chain reaction. All virus-isolation attempts were unsuccessful. Neither Salmonella spp. nor Campylobacter spp. was isolated from embryonic tissues, chorioallantoic membranes or yolk-sac membranes. The presence of antibodies against Newcastle disease virus and influenza A virus (haemagglutinin subtypes H5 and H7) was demonstrated in egg yolk. Antibodies were also detected against the egg-drop syndrome 1976 and duck plague viruses. It is concluded that further surveillance studies are needed for a reliable risk assessment.

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Acknowledgements

The skillful technical assistance of Antoinette Huhn, Julia Schmalz, Sandra David and Ralf Dörr is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Brigitte M. Bönner.

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Bönner, B.M., Lutz, W., Jäger, S. et al. Do Canada geese (Branta canadensis Linnaeus, 1758) carry infectious agents for birds and man?. Eur J Wildl Res 50, 78–84 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-004-0044-1

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Keywords

  • Bacterial zoonotic agents
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • Influenza A virus of the HA subtypes H5 and H7
  • Duck plague virus
  • Egg-drop syndrome 1976 virus