Avian influenza: Eco-epidemiological aspects of the virus in its natural hosts, the migratory waterfowls
Avian influenza viruses produce mainly respiratory and intestinal diseases. Their relevance in the generation of pandemic strains has led to a large amount of research to understand their distribution in nature, as well as the relations that become established for the effective transmission among different hosts. Waterfowl have been recognized as their natural reservoir and they play an important role in the propagation and generation of the diversity of these viruses. The emergence of new influenza viruses with pandemic potential among the human population (H5N1 of avian origin or recombinant H1N1 with avian segments) point our lack of information on many aspects of the ecology and epidemiology of these viruses in their natural hosts to enable the implementation of more effective prevention and control measures. In this review, we attempt to make a critical essay on the current state of knowledge on the biotic and abiotic factors that influence the ecology and epidemiology of the influenza A viruses in wild birds.