Urusla cigueña

Prof. Dr. Ursula Höfle

Researcher, leader of the avian diseases section within the SaBio (Sanidad y Biotecnología) research group, National Wildlife Research Institute IREC (CSIC-Universidad de Castilla – La Mancha). Ronda de Toledo s.n. 13071 Ciudad Real, Spain.



Líneas de investigación

Epidemiology and pathology of diseases of wild birds

Viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases of wild birds, including the epidemiology of relevant diseases shared with livestock and humans, such as avian influenza, West Nile fever and other Flavivirus related diseases, Newcastle disease, Salmonellosis; and diseases of relevance for conservation such as avian trichomonosis. Wild birds as disease reservoir, and reservoir for enterobacteria carrying antibiotic resistance mechanisms. Conservation medicine in the field of infectious diseases of populations of endangered avian species. Rehabilitation centres as source of epidemiologic information.

Avian influenza

Wild birds are considered the reservoir of low pathogenic avian influenza viruses. Using a combination of experimental studies and comprehensive field studies we can Increase our understanding of the dynamics of LPAIV in their avian reservoir and the emergence of pathogenic subtypes and/or risk situations at the wildlife, livestock human interface.

Diseases caused by Flaviviruses (West Nile virus, etc.)

Especially the host-pathogen relation in affected and reservoir avian hosts, and the identification of sentinel species for the prevention of disease outbreaks.

Disease emergence in and from wild birds

Captive management of wild birds (game bird farming) and the use of human and livestock residues as food source makes these both a source and indicators of emerging viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases. One Health approach to interdisciplinary research for the prevention of disease emergence affecting humans, domestic animals or wildlife and environment.

Main model hosts and pathogens

    • Hosts: Red-legged partridge, white stork, birds of prey and owls.
    • Pathogens: Viruses especially avian influenza, Flaviviruses and Herpesviruses, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, Trichomonas gallinae.

Selected recent publications  

    • Pathology and tissue tropism of natural West Nile virus infection in birds: A review Ver Publicación

Research Projects  

Research results