Submitted to: Avian Pathology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/14/2008
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: Brown, J.D., Stallknecht, D.E., Swayne, D.E. 2008. Transmission of H5N1 high pathogenicity avian influenza virus to Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) through intranasal inoculation of virus and ingestion of virus-infected chicken meat. Avian Pathology. 37(4):393-397. Interpretive Summary: Since 2002, H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses have caused mortality in numerous species of wild birds in Asia and Europe including gulls. To determine susceptibility of gulls to H5N1 HPAI virus, we inoculated herring gulls with two different H5N1 HPAI viruses either intranasally or through feeding infected chicken meat. The Mongolian H5N1 virus caused severe illness and death when given by either route of exposure while the 2001 isolate from Pekin ducks only caused illness and shedding of virus. These results also suggest that ingestion of viral-infected meat is an efficient route of exposure to H5N1 HPAI in a susceptible species.
Technical Abstract: In order to evaluate the susceptibility of herring gulls (Larus argentatus) to H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus under natural routes of infection, we exposed gulls to two Asian lineage H5N1 HPAI viruses (A/whooper swan/Mongolia/244/05 and A/duck meat/Anyang/AVL-1/01) via intranasal (IN) inoculation and ingestion of viral-infected chicken meat. High morbidity and mortality was observed in the gulls infected with the A/whooper swan/Mongolia/244/05 virus by both routes of exposure. Gulls infected with the A/duck meat/Anyang/AVL-1/01 virus exhibited high morbidity, but no mortality. Concentration and duration of viral shedding was similar between gulls infected with either H5N1 HPAI virus and between gulls exposed to the virus through IN inoculation or ingestion of viral-infected meat. These results indicate that the susceptibility of herring gulls to H5N1 HPAI virus varies between different virus isolates. These results also suggest that ingestion of viral-infected meat is an efficient route of exposure to H5N1 HPAI in a susceptible species.