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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Intervention Strategies to Control Newcastle Disease

Location: Exotic & Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research

Title: Avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (Newcastle disease virus), avian influenza virus and salmonella spp. in mute swans (Cygnus olor) in the great lakes region and atlantic coast of the United States

item Pedersen, Kerri -
item Marks, David -
item Arsnoe, Dustin -
item Afonso, Claudio
item Bevins, Sarah -
item Miller, Patti
item Randall, Adam -
item Deliberto, Thomas -

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 13, 2014
Publication Date: March 10, 2014
Repository URL:
Citation: Pedersen, K., Marks, D.R., Arsnoe, D.M., Afonso, C.L., Bevins, S.N., Miller, P.J., Randall, A.R., Deliberto, T.L. 2014. Avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (Newcastle disease virus), avian influenza virus and salmonella spp. in mute swans (Cygnus olor) in the great lakes region and atlantic coast of the United States. Avian Diseases. 58(1):129-136. DOI: 10.1637/10638-081413-Reg.1

Interpretive Summary: Mute swans are a not native to the United States and they are considered as a pest because they destroy the habitats of other birds and they eat the food for other types of swans native to the United States. Mute swans live in areas allowing them close contact to humans. They have been known to carry diseases that infect humans and other animals. Samples from muted swans from multiple states were taken and evaluated for the presence of Salmonella which can infect humans and three birds carried the Salmonella bacteria. The samples were also evaluated for two viruses (Newcastle disease virus and avian influenza virus) that can cause disease other birds. The birds had antibodies to both viruses demonstrating that these birds are infected with these two viruses at various times in their lives. Only a small percent of the birds were actively infected with the virus documented by recovering the virus from the samples. These findings suggest that the the swans are likely more dangerous to other bird species (especially commercial chicken farms that have had episodes of Salmonella outbreaks), rather than dangerous to people.

Technical Abstract: Since their introduction to the United States in the late 19th century, mute swans (Cygnus olor) have become a nuisance species by causing damage to aquatic habitats, acting aggressive towards humans, competing with native waterfowl, and by potentially serving as a reservoir of infectious diseases to humans and poultry. In an effort to investigate their potential role as a disease reservoir and to establish avian health baselines in pathogens that threaten agricultural species or human health, we collected samples from 858 mute swans and tested them for avian paramyxovirus serotype 1 (APMV-1), avian influenza virus (AIV), and Salmonella spp. Our results indicate that exposure to APMV-1 and AIV is common (60% and 45% antibody prevalence, respectively) in mute swans, but detection of active viral shedding is less common (8.7% and 0.8% respectively). Salmonella was isolated from only 3 mute swans and although the serovars identified have been implicated in previous human outbreaks, it does not appear that Salmonella is commonly carried by mute swans.

Last Modified: 8/25/2016
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