Submitted to: United States Animal Health Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2007
Publication Date: July 4, 2007
Citation: Suarez, D.L., Swayne, D.E., Kapczynski, D.R., Spackman, E., Pantin Jackwood, M.J. 2007. Avian influenza research update. In: Proceedings of the 110th Annual Meeting of the U.S. Animal Health Association, October 12-18, 2006, Minneapolis, Minnesota. p. 642-644. Interpretive Summary: The Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory maintains an active research program for avian influenza in several different areas including developing and improving diagnostic test, developing and testing vaccines, doing studies to understand how the virus makes birds sick, and studies to examine the genetic structure of the virus. Avian influenza is a viral infection in many bird species. The virus can range from one that causes only mild disease to one that causes severe disease. Strains of virus that cause severe disease are called highly pathogenic avian influenza and typically only infect poultry. The highly pathogenic viruses in Asia, Africa and Europe, often referred to as H5N1, are unusual in that they infect and cause death in poultry and wild birds. We are doing many studies to try to understand why these viruses are different from other avian influenza viruses studied before.
Technical Abstract: The Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory maintains an active research program for avian influenza in several different areas including developing and improving diagnostic test, developing and testing vaccines, doing basic pathogenesis research, and studies on molecular epidemiology. The highlights of our recent research efforts have included improving the RNA extraction technique from fecal and meat samples that improves the sensitivity of real-time RT-PCR tests. Additional comparison testing of antigen capture tests show good detection in sick or dead birds, but lower sensitivity in preclinical birds. Many studies examining the pathogenesis of Asian H5N1 viruses in both chickens, ducks, and wil birds show a trend of increasing pathogenicity. Current vaccines are still protective, but high levels of antibody must be obtained. Sequencing of avian influenza isolates show continued antigenic drift of the viruses.