Serologic and Virologic Evidence of Influenza A Viruses in Wild Boars ( Sus scrofa) from Two Different Locations in Italy

Mauro Delogu, Claudia Cotti, Gabriele Vaccari, Elisabetta Raffini, Matteo Frasnelli, Sandro Nicoloso, Vanessa Biacchessi, Arianna Boni, Emanuela Foni, Maria R Castrucci, Maria A De Marco

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Swine influenza viruses (SIVs) have been repeatedly demonstrated to circulate in wild boar ( Sus scrofa) populations, whereas no evidence of exposure to avian influenza viruses (AIVs) has been described in wild boar. To better understand how different environments may influence the ecology of influenza A viruses (IAVs) in wild suid populations, we examined biologic samples of wild boars from two study areas represented by an upland (UL) and a wetland (WL) in northern and central Italy, respectively. Serum samples were collected from 388 wild boars sampled in the UL, whereas both a serum sample and a nasal swab were obtained from each of 35 wild boars sampled in the WL. Twenty of 388 (5.2%) sera from the UL were positive by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of antibodies against influenza A nucleoprotein and some of these samples showed antibodies by hemagglutination inhibition to SIVs of H1N1 (1/20), H1N2 (10/20), and H3N2 (1/20) antigenic subtypes. No IAV-seropositive wild boar was detected in the WL, although one of 35 animals was found to be IAV-positive by both a reverse transcriptase PCR and a real-time reverse transcriptase PCR. We hypothesize an SIV exposure for IAV-seropositive wild boars occupying the UL, whereas a possible AIV spillover from aquatic bird species-natural reservoirs of IAVs-to wild boars in the WL cannot be ruled out. Further research is needed to better understand the role played by wild boars in IAV ecology in Mediterranean habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-163
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Wildlife Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Animals
  • Influenza A virus/immunology
  • Italy/epidemiology
  • Orthomyxoviridae Infections/blood
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Sus scrofa/blood


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