Submitted to: Tuskegee University Annual Symposium Veterinary
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 27, 2001
Publication Date: March 1, 2001
Technical Abstract: The H5N1 type A influenza viruses that emerged in Hong Kong in 1997 comprise a unique lineage of influenza viruses with the capacity to transmit directly from chickens to humans and produce significant disease and mortality in both of these hosts. Typically influenza viruses demonstrate host specificity by a limited ability to infect and produce disease in aberrant hosts, and the unique zoonosis and virulence of the Hong Kong-origin H5N1 viruses prompted investigations into the range of potential hosts of this viral lineage. Fourteen avian species, including members from six different orders, and three different mammalian species have been intranasally inoculated with the A/chicken/Hong Kong/220/97 (H5N1) (HK/220) avian influenza virus, which was isolated from the initial outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza in chickens in Hong Kong. Comparison of the morbidity, mortality, gross and histological lesions, and ddistribution of viral antigen, as demonstrated with immunohistochemistry, reveal that the HK/220 virus is capable of infecting multiple species and produces a range of disease from subclinical infection to consistently fatal fulminating systemic disease in susceptible hosts.