Predicting the initial spread of novel Asian origin influenza A viruses in the continental USA by wild waterfowl.
Using data on waterfowl band recoveries, we identified spatially explicit hotspots of concentrated waterfowl movement to predict occurrence and spatial spread of a novel influenza A virus (clade 220.127.116.11) introduced from Asia by waterfowl from an initial outbreak in North America in November 2014. In response to the outbreak, the hotspots of waterfowl movement were used to help guide sampling for clade 18.104.22.168 viruses in waterfowl as an early warning for the US poultry industry during the outbreak. After surveillance sampling of waterfowl, we tested whether there was greater detection of clade 22.214.171.124 viruses inside hotspots. We found that hotspots defined using kernel density estimates of waterfowl band recoveries worked well in predicting areas with higher prevalence of the viruses in waterfowl. This approach exemplifies the value of ecological knowledge in predicting risk to agricultural security.