A systematic revision of viral and bacterial pathogens of free-ranging wild birds in Chile

Daniel González-Acuña, Sebastián Llanos-Soto

Wild birds are deeply involved in the emergence of infectious diseases in domestic animals and humans. Knowledge about the pathogenic agents present in avian species is pivotal to properly prevent transmission events that might threaten public health and animal production. This systematic review intended to organize all information available about viral and bacterial pathogens of Chilean avian species, determine those that have not been properly studied by the local scientific community, evaluate how often articles are being published and identify regions in Chile that concentrate the highest and lowest number of studies concerning viral and bacterial pathogens. A total of 34 peer-reviewed publications were assessed from January 1940 through January 2019. From these, 11 studies evaluated viral agents, while 23 involved bacteria. Publications has been mostly discontinuous in the years prior to 2006, with an absence of studies in periods from 1991 and 1994 and from 2000 and 2005. The most studied pathogens were Salmonella spp. and avian influenza with 9 and 8 studies, respectively. The most studied regions in the country were Los Ríos and Valparaíso with 8 studies each and no studies were done in O’Higgins, Maule and Aysén regions. Overall, information about pathogens in wild birds is very scarce. An increased effort is necessary to properly identify the pathogenic agents present in wild birds and the potential impact that they might have on their health. Furthermore, it is extremely relevant to also evaluate the role of wild birds as reservoir of diseases that could signify a threat to animal production and public health systems in Chile.

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