Metagenomic characterisation of additional and novel avian viruses from Australian wild ducks.
Birds, notably wild ducks, are reservoirs of pathogenic and zoonotic viruses such as influenza viruses and coronaviruses. In the current study, we used metagenomics to detect and characterise avian DNA and RNA viruses from wild Pacific black ducks, Chestnut teals and Grey teals collected at different time points from a single location. We characterised a likely new species of duck aviadenovirus and a novel duck gyrovirus. We also report what, to the best of our knowledge, is the first finding of an avian orthoreovirus from Pacific black ducks and a rotavirus F from Chestnut teals. Other viruses characterised from the samples from these wild ducks belong to the virus families Astroviridae, Caliciviridae and Coronaviridae. Some of the viruses may have potential cross-species transmissibility, while others indicated a wide genetic diversity of duck viruses within a genus. The study also showed evidence of potential transmission of viruses along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway; potentially facilitated by migrating shorebirds. The detection and characterisation of several avian viruses not previously described, and causing asymptomatic but potentially also symptomatic infections suggest the need for more virus surveillance studies for pathogenic and potential zoonotic viruses in wildlife reservoirs.