From 29 October to 4 November, 2015, a workshop was held on zoonotic disease transmission by migratory birds and bats, funded by the Argentinian Ministry of Education. Attendees included: Patricia Capllonch, Karina Soria, Rodrigo Araoz, Diego Ortiz, Emanuel Perez Bogado, Ezequiel Barbosa (Universidad Nacional de Tucuman), Adrian Diaz, David Vergara, Agustin Quaglia, Tobias Rojas, Ernesto Verga (Universidad Nacional de Cordoba), and Alex Jahn (Universidade Estadual Paulista).
Several talks were presented, including one on the use of light-level geolocators to study animal migration (Alex Jahn), molt schedules of migratory birds (Patricia Capllonch), and another on the current state of knowledge of zoonotic disease transmission in the Neotropics and beyond (Adrian Diaz). We also spent several days at a field site north of Tucuman city banding migratory and resident birds (see pictures), and practicing deploying light-level geolocators.
Major gaps in our knowledge about the potential for migratory birds to transmit zoonotic diseases within (and to and from) South America were identified, including:
- Information on migratory routes and migratory connectivity (where individuals from different breeding populations overwinter) of numerous migratory bird species.
- A description of the genetic variability of different strains of disease (e.g., Saint Louis encephalitis) across Argentina and the continent.
- The potential for different migratory species to amplify and carry pathogenic strains across the landscape.