1 AVIAN INFLUENZA MONITORING IN TURKEY NATIONAL WATER BIRDS CENSUS AND APPLICATION OF GIS 1. ABSTRACT: Ortaç ONMUŞ 1 Notifiable Avian Influenza-HPAI (AI) has become a disease of great importance both for animal and human health in the world. Because of abnormal and recurrent field mortality, wild migratory birds were considered to be one of the main dispersing agents of the virus at an intercontinental scale. The increased importance of AI in the fields of animal and human health has highlighted the lack of scientific information on several aspects of the disease such as infection from and or to both backyard and industrial poultry population, and lack of information on migration patterns of migratory birds - especially waterbirds. Therefore one way to monitor the spread of AI is to monitor migratory wild birds, especially waterbirds. The objectives of this study were to present results of the surveillance of waterbirds that can possibly carry avian influenza (HPAI) in Turkey, and to identify potential risk factors and areas. In 2006 and 2007, national waterbird census was applied in Turkey. The census results were collected and managed by database management system and distribution maps were created by GIS software using specific satellite images. The results were compared with the results of confirmed cases of HPAI H5N1 in Turkey by province between 2005 and In 2006, 98 different waterbird species and 1,410,895 waterbirds were identified in 79 different wetlands and in 2007, 101 different waterbird species and 1,953,284 waterbirds were identified in 94 different wetlands. Therefore this research is the first quantitative study for Avian Influenza monitoring in wild migratory birds in Turkey. The findings indicate that national waterbird census is an effective tool in passive surveillance of Avian Influenza (HPAI) in Turkey. Keywords: Avian Influenza, Waterbird Monitoring, Wetlands, Turkey 2. INTRODUCTION Notifiable Avian Influenza-HPAI H5N1 (AI) has become a disease of great importance both for animal and human health in the world. Because of abnormal and recurrent field mortality, wild migratory birds are considered to be one of the main dispersing agents of the virus at an intercontinental scale (Feare 2006, Ivanov, 2008). However, there are many causes possible for the dissemination of avian influenza and the interaction between humans and wild and pet birds and their products increases the possibility of dissemination of the disease. The interactions included are bird trade - domestic and international trade in wild and cage birds; trade of bird products the trade of bird meat and meat products, eggs and egg products; merit release- the religious practice of merit release in parts of South and Southeast Asia results in captive birds rejoining wild populations and may enable transmission of avian diseases; cock fighting the practice of cock fighting in parts of South and Southeast Asia and transport of these birds to different locations; and movements of waterbirds (Feare 2006, Wetland International, 2008). The increased importance of AI in the fields of animal and human health has highlighted the lack of scientific information on several aspects of the disease such as infection from and or to both backyard and industrial poultry population, and lack of information on migration patterns of migratory birds - especially waterbirds. The detailed picture of migration within the region is complex. The International Waterbird Census (IWC) has been taking place in January in the Western Palaearctic and Southwest Asia every year since The Census is coordinated internationally by Wetlands International and applied with the participation of Birdlife International partners in different countries. The data is collected each year by more than 11,000 observers in 100 countries (Delany 1999, Wetland International, 2006). National census coordination in Turkey is made by Doga Derneği (Birdlife partner of Turkey) and is applied by the participation of birdwatchers in Turkey (Onmuş, 2007). The 1 Ege University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Izmir, Turkey,
2 aims of the waterbird census are to provide complete information on waterbird populations, their distributions, and variety of activities on wetlands and effects of these activites on wetlands. With the data obtained through censuses, waterbird population estimates, trend analyses of many birds, identification of Important Bird Areas (IBA s) could be made possible (Kılıç, 2004, Onmuş, 2007). The objectives of this study are to present results of the surveillance of waterbirds - through National Waterbirds Census in 2006 and that can possibly carry avian influenza (HPAI), and to identify potential risk factors on the dissemination of Avian Influenza in Turkey. Therefore this research is the first quantitative study for Avian Influenza monitoring in waterbirds in Turkey. 3. METHODS AND ANALYSES 3.1. MID WINTER WATERBIRD CENSUS (MWWBC) Census teams consisted of several people with adequate knowledge in identification of birds and terrain, equipped with binoculars and telescopes. With the assistance of a GPS (Global Positioning System), the teams have recorded the results and afterwards the data was put into a computer database. Counts are generally conducted at the same points used during previous mid-winter counts, in a way that the whole wetland is covered under normal circumstances. Birds are counted one by one if the density of groups permits. Otherwise, and very often, they are counted in groups of 5, 10, 50 or 100 individuals. Under conditions such as limited time, rapid movement of large flocks or poor visibility, rough estimates have been made indicating the minimum size of a group (Bibby 2000, Caglayan 2005, Suseven 2006, Onmuş, 2007). The census results were collected and managed by database management system and distribution maps were created by GIS software using specific satellite images AVIAN INFLUENZA RISK ANALYSES An avian influenza risk analysis is only made for the species that can possibly carry and disseminate AI in their wild populations (National Wildlife Health Center, 2007). The list of these species is given in Table 1. Table 1: Referenced reports of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in wildlife waterbirds Scientific Name Common Eng. Name Scientific Name Common Eng. Name 1 Anas platyrhynchos Mallard 15 Gallinula chloropus Moorhen 2 Anas penelope Wigeon 16 Larus ichthyaetus Great Black Heades Gull 3 Anas strepera Garganey 17 Larus ridibundus Black Headed Gull 4 Anser albifrons White-fronted Goose 18 Mergus albellus Smew 5 Anser anser Greylag Goose 19 Mergus merganser Goosander 6 Ardea cinerea Grey Heron 20 Nycticorax nycticorax Night Heron 7 Aythya ferina Pochard 21 Pelicanus sp. Pelican sp. 8 Aythya fuligula Tufted Duck 22 Phalacrocorax carbo Cormorant 9 Branta ruficollis Red-breasted Goose 23 Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe 10 Ciconia ciconia White Stork 24 Podicepts nigricollis Black Necked Grebe 11 Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan 25 Porphyrio porphyrio Purple Gallinule 12 Cygnus olor Mute Swan 26 Tachybaptus ruficollis Little Grebe 13 Egretta garzetta Little Egret 27 Tadorna ferruginea Ruddy Shelduck 14 Fulica atra Coot 28 Tringa ochropus Green Sandpiper Thematic maps showing the total number of waterbird species and their population distributions were prepared. The results were compared with the results of confirmed cases of HPAI H5N1 in Turkey by province between 2005 and This data was obtained by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Turkish Republic (Aşkaroğlu, 2007). 4. RESULTS AND CONLUSIONS In 2006 and 2007, national waterbird census was applied in Turkey. In 2006, 98 different waterbird species and 1,410,895 waterbirds were identified in 79 different wetlands and in 2007, 101 different waterbird species and 1,953,284 waterbirds were identified in 94 different wetlands. Figure 1 shows
3 the distribution of census applied wetlands and sites 2007 and the Table 2 lists the corresponding names of these sites. Figure 1: Distribution of waterbird census applied sites in Tablo 2: The names of the waterbird census applied sites and their corresponding information Name of the Site Number Name of the Site Number Name of the Site Number Acıgöl 1 Demirköprü Dam 32 Kovada Lake 63 Ağyatan Lake 2 Denizli Sarayköy 33 Kozanlı LAke 64 Akyatan Lake 3 Devegeçidi Dam 34 Köyceğiz Sülüngür Lagoon 65 Artvin Shores 4 Eğirdir Lake 35 Köyceğiz Lake 66 Atatürk Dam Adıyaman Region 5 Foça Islands 36 Kralkızı Dam 67 Atatürk Dam Şanlıurfa Region 6 Gediz Delta 37 Küçük Çekmece Lake 68 Ayvalık Salina 7 Göksu Dam 38 Küçük Menderes Delta 69 Azap Lake 8 Göksu Delta 39 Manyas Lake 70 Azaplı Lake 9 Gölbaşı Lake 40 Meriç Delta 71 Bafa Lake 10 Gölhisar (Yamadı) Lake 41 Milas Salina 72 Bakırçay Delta 11 Marmara Lake 42 Mogan Lake 73 Balıkdamı 12 Güllük Delta 43 Rize Shores 74 Başpınar Reservoir 13 Hazar Lake 44 Sakarya Delta 75 Batman Dam 14 Hirfanlı Dam 45 Salda Lake 76 Belevi Marshes 15 İğneada 46 Sapanca Lake 77 Beyşehir Lake 16 İnekli Lake 47 Sarıkum Lake 78 Birecik Dam 17 İpsala İbriktepe Dam 48 Sarıyar Dam 79 Bismil Marshes 18 Işıklı Lake 49 Silivri 80 Bosphorus 19 İzmir Körfezi 50 Sinop Shores 81 Burdur Lake 20 İznik Lake 51 Sürgü Dam 82 Büyük Çekmece Lake 21 Kabaklı Reservoir 52 Tahtalı Dam 83 Büyük Menderes Delta 22 Karakaya Dam 53 Terkos Lake 84 Çakalburnu Lagoon 23 Karataş Lake 54 Tersakan Lake 85 Çaltıdere 24 Karkamış Dam 55 Trabzon Shores 86 Çamgazi Dam 25 Kartalkaya Dam 56 Tuzla Lagoon 87 Çatalca Duru Lake 26 Keban Dam 57 Uluabat Lake 88 Çeltik Ak Lake 27 Kırkgözhan Marshes 58 Yarışlı Lake 89 Çeşme Alaçatı 28 Kırmıtlı Bird Paradise 59 Yedikır Dam 90 Çeşme Kutlu Aktaş Reservoir 29 Kızılırmak Delta 60 Yeşilırmak Delta 91 Dalaman Ovası and Koca Lake 30 Kocaçay Delta 61 Yumurtalık Lagoon 92 Datça Bozburun a,gökova Plain 31 Kocaeli, Kandıra Kefken 62 The total number of waterbirds that can possibly carry HPAI - H5N1 in their wild populations in 2006 and 2007 waterbird censuses are shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3. Similar information is also provided for waterbird population distributions in these years (see Figure 4 and Figure 5). According to these findings shown in the figures, Black Sea Region, (Samsun Province and Rize, and Trabzon Provinces), the Lakes Region (Burdur, Isparta, and Konya Provinces), the Marmara Region (Balıkesir, Edirne Istanbul and Sakarya Provinces), Aegean Region (Izmir, Manisa, Aydın and Muğla Regions), Central Anatolia region (Ankara and Eskişehir provinces) and the Regions of Dams (Malatya, Elazığ Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman) are implying relatively high possibility disease risks. According to the Ministry (Aşkaroğlu, 2007) the first outbreak occurred in Balıkesir October 2005 and the last outbreaks occurred in February 2006 in wild birds, and in March 2006 in domestic poultry. The disease has been observed in 54 of the 81 provinces of Turkey. The distribution and the number of confirmed cases are presented in Figure 6.
4 Figure 2: The number of waterbirds that can possibly carry HPAI-H5N1 in wild populations (2006) Figure 3: The number of waterbirds that can possibly carry HPAI-H5N1 in wild populations (2007) Figure 4: Total number of waterbird populations that possibly carry HPAI-H5N1 in wild populations (2006) Figure 5: Total number of waterbird populations that possibly carry HPAI-H5N1 in wild populations (2007)
5 Figure 6: The distribution of the confirmed HPAI cases in Turkey between October 2005 and March 2006 (Aşkaroğlu, 2007) A comparison between the confirmed HPAI cases in Turkey and the distribution of waterbird species that possibly carry and disseminate HPAI in their wild populations implies that there may be a relation between them especially in some of the regions as Black Sea Region (Samsun Province and Rize, and Trabzon Provinces) and the region of dams (Malatya, Elazığ Şanlıurfa and Adıyaman). However, to be able to understand this relation, this study only points out where to start because the information provided here only shows the high risk of areas according to waterbird census results. For further investigation and risk management -before starting to accuse wildbirds- the following activities are suggested to be applied: investigation of mortality in wild and domestic birds for detection of the range of the outbreaks; minimising disturbances of wild birds, such as hunting, as it will make the birds fly to other areas; prevention of any contact between wild and domestic birds (for instance by regulations regarding free range poultry); and controlling all transport of poultry and poultry products in regions around outbreaks. Monitoring of waterbirds across the country is being undertaken annually during January, coordinated nationally by Doğa Derneği. This monitoring study provides the primary basis for understanding the distribution of waterbirds at one time of the year. To enhance our understanding between HPAI outbreaks and waterbird distribution, the number of sites counted each year should be increased and extended and as much possible. 5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The data presented here related with the National Waterbird Censuses are kindly provided by Doga Derneği - the Birdlife Partner of Turkey and collected during the application AI influenza Monitoring projects in Turkey. These projects have been kindly supported by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - RSPB, BirdLife International, Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry, General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund CEPF. Therefore their contribution for these projects is acknowledged. Finally I also would like to acknowledge all the birdwatchers in Turkey who have participated in national waterbird census and contributed for the collection of these data. 6. REFERENCES Aşkaroğlu H. H., 2007 Presentations of the General Evaluation of AI outbreaks in Turkey, International Avian Influenza Congress, September 2-5 th Antalya Turkey. Retrived on March 12 from
6 Bibby, J. Colin., Burgess, D. Neil., Hill, A. David., Mustoe, Simon., 2000, Bird Census Techniques, Second Edition, Academic Press, ISBN , London, United Kingdom. Çağlayan, E., Kılıç, D. T., Per E.,Gem, E., 2005 Türkiye Kış Ortası Sukuşu sayımları 2005, Doğa Derneği, Ankara, Türkiye Delany, S., Reyes, C. Hubert, E. Pihl, S., Rees, E., Haanstra, L., and van Strien, A Results from the International Waterbird Census in the Western Palearctic and Southwest Asia 1995 and Wetlands International Publication No. 54, Wageningen, The Netherlands Feare C.J., Report on Fish farming and the risk of spread of, avian influenza Birdlife 2006, Retrived on December 19 from Ivanov Y., Bayraktar, R., Van den Ende, M., Kuş Gribi Survey El Kitabı (AI Surveillance Handbook), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affaires 2008, Ankara Turkey Kılıç, D. T., Eken, G., 2004, Türkiye nin Önemli Kuş Alanları 2004 Güncellemesi, Doğa Derneği, Ankara, Türkiye. National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) 2007, List of Species Affected by H5N1 (Avian Influenza), Referenced reports of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 in wildlife and domestic animals Retrieved December 2, 2007 from Onmuş, O. 2007, Türkiye Kış Ortası Sukuşu Sayımları 2007, Doğa Derneği, Ankara Turkey Suseven, B., Onmuş, O., İsfendiyaroğlu, S Kış Ortası Sukuşu Sayımı (KOSKS) Raporu, Doğa Derneği, Ankara, Türkiye. Wetland International, 2006, Waterbird Population Estimates Fourth Edition. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands. Wetland International 2008, Role of wild birds in dissemination of avian diseases, Retrived January from 729b19b39d1a, Yarar Murat., Magnin, Gernant., 1997, Türkiye nin Önemli Kuş Alanları, Doğal Hayatı Koruma Derneği, İstanbul Türkiye.