Submitted to: American Veterinary Medical Association Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2001
Publication Date: 7/14/2001
Technical Abstract: In the fall of 1999, West Nile virus (WNV) was isolated during an outbreak of neurologic disease in humans, horses, and wild and zoological birds in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. This outbreak continued in 2000 and spread to other northeastern states. Experimental studies were done to assess the role of chickens, turkeys and domestic geese in the ecology of WNV. Subcutaneous inoculation of a WNV failed to produce clinical signs in chickens and turkeys, but one turkey died abruptly on 8 days post-inoculation (DPI) of bacterial septicemia. WNV was recovered from plasma between 1-10 DPI, but most birds had low titers. Fecal shedding of WNV was detected 4-7 DPI in cloacal swabs, but not oropharyngeal shedding. WNV was not transmitted to in contact chickens or turkeys. Subcutaneous inoculation of WNV in goslings resulted in weight loss, decreased activity, depression, neurologic disease, death and in contact transmission. WNV was recovered in high titers from plasma on 1-5 DPI and low titers in oropharyngeal swabs on 3-4 DPI, but not in feces (cloacal swabs). Moderate to severe encephalitis and myocarditis were present. These data suggest WNV may be a disease threat to young goslings, but not chickens or turkeys.