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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Evidence of avian metapneumovirus subtype C infection of wild birds in Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Ohio,USA.

Authors
item Turpin, Elizabeth
item Stallknecht, David - SE COOP. WILDLIFE DIS STU
item Slemons, Richard - SE COOP. WILDLIFE DIS STU
item Zsak, Laszlo
item Swayne, David

Submitted to: Avian Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 17, 2008
Publication Date: June 2, 2008
Citation: Turpin, E.A., Stallknecht, D.E., Slemons, R.D., Zsak, L., Swayne, D.E. 2008. Evidence of avian metapneumovirus subtype C infection of wild birds in Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Ohio, USA. Avian Pathology. 37(3):343-351.

Interpretive Summary: The presence of avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) infection in the United States was first reported during 1996 in Colorado. After the initial identification the presence of the virus was reported in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota. The sudden emergence and sporadic occurrence of aMPV disease in the US has lead to speculation that wild birds may be involved in viral spread. To examine the potential role of migratory waterfowl and other wild birds in aMPV spread, serum samples from multiple species were screened using a blocking enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Antibodies to aMPV were identified in five of the fifteen species tested; American coots, American crows, Canada geese, cattle egrets, and pigeons. Oral swabs were collected from wild bird species and seventeen aMPV isolates were identified, eleven from coots and six from geese. The detection of aMPV antibodies and the presence of the virus in wild birds in Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Ohio states demonstrate that wild birds can serve as a reservoir of subtype C aMPVs and may play an important role to spread the virus to domestic poultry.

Technical Abstract: Metapneumoviruses were first reported in humans in 2001 and avian species in the late 1970s. Although avian metapneumoviruses (aMPV) have been reported in Europe and Asia for over 20 years, the virus first appeared in the United States in 1996, leaving many to question the origin of the virus. To examine the potential role of migratory waterfowl and other wild birds in aMPV spread, our study focused on determining if populations of wild birds have evidence of aMPV infection. Serum samples from multiple species were initially screened using a blocking enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Antibodies to aMPV were identified in five of the fifteen species tested; American coots, American crows, Canada geese, cattle egrets, and pigeons. The presence of aMPV specific antibodies was confirmed with virus neutralization and western blot assays. Oral swabs were collected from wild bird species with the highest percentage of aMPV seropositive serum samples; the American coots and Canada geese. From these swabs, seventeen aMPV isolates were identified, eleven from coots and six from geese. Sequence analysis of the matrix, fusion, glycoprotein and short hydrophobic genes revealed that these viruses belong to subtype C aMPVs. The detection of aMPV antibodies and the presence of the virus in wild birds in Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas and Ohio states in the USA demonstrate that wild birds can serve as a reservoir of subtype C aMPVs and may provide with a potential mechanism to spread aMPV to poultry in other regions of the United States.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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