Submitted to: Emerging Infectious Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2006
Publication Date: 11/15/2006
Citation: Brown, J.D., Stallknecht, D.E., Beck, J.R., Suarez, D.L., Swayne, D.E. 2006. Susceptibility of North American ducks and gulls to H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 12(11):1663-1670. Interpretive Summary: The H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus has been associated with death in various wild birds throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa. We tested two of the H5N1 HPAI viruses to determine if they could infect and cause disease in wild ducks and gulls found in North America. Wood ducks and laughing gulls became sick and died while mallard, northern pintail, blue-wing teal, and redhead ducks became infected, but did not develop disease. This indicates that wood ducks and laughing gulls may be a good species for surveillance to detect the H5N1 HPAI virus should it come to North America.
Technical Abstract: Since 2002, H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses have been associated with mortality in numerous wild avian species throughout Eurasia. In this study, we assessed the clinical response and extent and duration of viral shedding in five species of North American ducks and laughing gulls (Larus atricilla) after intranasal challenge with two Asian H5N1 HPAI viruses. Birds were challenged at approximately two to four months of age which is consistent with temporal peaks in virus prevalence and fall migration. All species were infected, but wood ducks (Aix sponsa) and laughing gulls were the only species to exhibit either morbidity or mortality. Infected mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), northern pintails (Anas acuta), blue-wing teals (Anas crecca), and redheads (Aythya americana) did not exhibit clinical signs. Viral titers were higher in oropharyngeal swabs than cloacal swabs. The duration of viral shedding (1-10 days) increased with severity of clinical disease.