Table of Contents
ISRN Veterinary Science
Volume 2013, Article ID 601732, 5 pages
Research Article

Virological Investigation of Avian Influenza Virus on Postglacial Species of Phasianidae and Tetraonidae in the Italian Alps

1Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, 40064 Ozzano Emilia, BO, Italy
2Stelvio National Park, Via De Simoni 42, 23032 Bormio, SO, Italy
3Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell’Emilia-Romagna, Via del Limite 2, 48022 Lugo, RA, Italy
4Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA), Via Ca’ Fornacetta 9, 40064 Ozzano Emilia, BO, Italy

Received 10 July 2013; Accepted 14 August 2013

Academic Editors: P. Butaye and J. Cabaret

Copyright © 2013 Mauro Delogu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Land-based birds, belonging to Galliformes order are considered to be potential intermediaries in the emergence of new strains of influenza A viruses (AIVs), but the viral circulation in these birds remains largely unknown. To gain insights into the circulation of AIV in the wild Galliformes populations in Italian Alps, we conducted a virological survey on rock partridge (Alectoris graeca saxatilis) belonging to Phasianidae family and on tetraonids including rock ptarmigan (Lagopus mutus helveticus) and black grouse (Tetrao tetrix tetrix). In 2003 and 2004, during the hunting seasons, 79 wild Galliformes, categorised into age and sex classes, were hunted in the Sondrio Province (Central Alps). Cloacal swabs were collected from 11 rock partridges and from 68 tetraonids including 23 alpine rock ptarmigans and 45 black grouses. We tested cloacal swabs by a high sensitive reverse transcription- (RT-) PCR detecting the matrix gene of AIV. No AIV was detected in the investigated samples, thus, suggesting the lack of AIV circulation in these relict populations in the study period. In terms of threatened species conservation, during wildlife management activities, it is very important to exclude the introduction of AIV-carrier birds in shared territories, a fact representing a health risk for these populations.