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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: APPLICATION OF BIOLOGICAL AND MOLECULAR TECHNIQUES TO THE DIAGNOSIS AND CONTROL OF AVIAN INFLUENZA AND OTHER EMERGING POULTRY PATHOGENS

Location: Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit

Title: Pathobiological characterization of low-pathogenicity H5 avian influenza viruses of diverse origins in chickens, ducks and turkeys

Authors
item Pillai, Smitha -
item Pantin-Jackwood, Mary
item Suarez, David
item Lee, Chang-Won -

Submitted to: Archives of Virology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 25, 2010
Publication Date: June 25, 2010
Citation: Pillai, S.P., Pantin Jackwood, M.J., Suarez, D.L., Lee, C. 2010. Pathobiological characterization of low-pathogenicity H5 avian influenza viruses of diverse origins in chickens, ducks and turkeys. Archives of Virology. 115:1439-1451.

Interpretive Summary: Avian influenza is a severe disease of poultry, including chickens and turkeys. In this study we explored the replication and intraspecies transmission characteristics of 20 low pathogenicity avian influenza viruses of different origins in domestic ducks, chickens and turkeys. We studied virus replication and pathology in infected birds and in birds put in contact with infected ones, and also determined their antibody response to virus infection. Our results indicated that most of these viruses studied could replicate and transmit within poultry without inducing clinical disease. However, distinct virus and species specific differences in transmission to contact birds were noted. The wild bird isolates as well as domestic bird origin viruses from live bird markets and commercial poultry operations replicated and transmitted more efficiently in turkeys in comparison to chickens or ducks. This highlights the role of turkeys as being more susceptible hosts for avian influenza viruses in general in comparison to domestic ducks and chickens and underlines the role of turkeys as intermediate or bridging hosts in the transmission of influenza viruses from wild birds to domestic poultry or among different land based bird species.

Technical Abstract: We undertook one of the most comprehensive studies on the replication and intraspecies transmission characteristics of 20 low pathogenicity avian influenza viruses of different origins, which included 8 isolates from wild aquatic birds. We studied virus replication in infected and contact control birds of the 3 bird species, their antibody response as well as pathology and immunohistochemistry for viral detection from different tissues of infected birds. Our results indicated that most of these isolates could replicate and transmit within poultry without inducing clinical disease. However, distinct virus and species specific differences in transmission to contact control birds were noted emphasizing the importance of having contact control cage mates in biological characterization experiments. Ducks supported the replication of wild aquatic bird origin viruses in their respiratory and digestive tracts equally well, though in contact control birds, higher tendency for viral detection from cloacal swabs was observed. The wild aquatic bird viruses did not effectively transmit among chickens. In contrast, the wild bird isolates as well as domestic bird origin viruses from live bird markets and commercial poultry operations replicated and transmitted more efficiently in turkeys in comparison to chickens or ducks. We also found lower minimal infectious dose requirement for infection of turkeys compared to chickens and ducks suggesting that turkeys could be easily infected following a low dose exposure. Our data support the important role of turkeys as being more susceptible hosts for avian influenza viruses in general in comparison to domestic ducks and chickens. These results signify the role of turkeys as intermediate or bridging hosts in the transmission of influenza viruses from wild birds to land based domestic poultry or among different land based bird species.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014