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Detection of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 virus (HPAI H5N1) in New York City

New York City Virus Hunters discover more viruses in urban wild birds.


Adama Diaby, Kadiatou Kante, Shehryar Naeem Khan, Kailani Gaynor, Sadia Choudhury


Christine Marizzi, Philip Meade, Paul Kehinde Ajayi

Project Period:




New York City Virus Hunters (NYCVH) is an innovative community science program focusing on viral surveillance of the urban wild bird population. H5N1 avian influenza virus made its way to North America by the migration of wild birds from Europe between December 2021 to January 2022. This strain of influenza virus has necessitated large-scale poultry flock cullings, imposing a significant economic burden. We have collected 113 fecal samples from parks and over 1400 additional samples were submitted by our non-profit partners; Animal Care Centers of NYC (NYCACC) and Wild Bird Fund (WBF). From February 2022 to May 2023, over 1400 samples were screened at the Krammer Laboratory at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai for H5N1. Six H5N1 viruses have been detected and sequenced. Our results provide new insights into the virus's evolution and dynamics in an urban setting. Equally important, community scientists in our program advocate pandemic preparedness and alertness to H5N1 influenza virus as it continues to circulate among wildlife.

This page was originally developed by BioBus Summer 2021 Jr. Scientist William Rhee.

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