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Title: H5N1 Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in wild birds

item Swayne, David

Submitted to: American College of Veterinary Pathologists Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/29/2008
Publication Date: 11/15/2008
Citation: Brown, J.D., Stallknecht, D., Swayne, D.E. 2008. H5N1 Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in wild birds. In: Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, November 15-17, 2008, San Antonio, Texas. p. 103-109.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The existing H5N1 HPAI experimental infection data in wild avian species has validated observations made from field data and provided useful objective data on susceptibility, viral shedding, and pathobiology in different avian species. However, a complete understanding of the H5N1 HPAI virus epidemic and the potential future for these viruses cannot be completely defined with experimental trials. Complex interactions between the viruses, hosts, and environments and the endless potential for unique ecological interactions are difficult to recreate in a laboratory setting in order to understand what happened previously in an outbreak. Similarly, this same complexity makes it very difficult to predict what will happen in the future with H5N1 HPAI virus. The susceptibility of some wild avian species to H5N1 HPAI virus is undeniable and that in itself is novel for a HPAI virus. Additionally, there is very strong evidence that wild birds contributed to the spread of H5N1 HPAI viruses over long distances in 2005-2006. It is not known, however, whether H5N1 HPAI viruses are established and maintained in wild avian populations. The vast majority of field and experimental data suggest that it is unlikely that H5N1 HPAI viruses are established in wild avian populations, however, the possibility that virus could be circulating at a very low prevalence cannot be ruled out. Based on field and experimental data, what is certain, however, is that H5N1 HPAI viruses in wild birds are unlike any previous AI virus and deviate substantially from the traditional paradigm in many characteristics.