Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/10/2018
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: In November and December of 2016 a novel influenza virus was isolated from cats from an animal shelter from New York City(NYC). The virus caused respiratory disease and was found in cats in several shelters in NYC, and one human also became infected. The H7N2 subtype isolate was sequenced and it was found to be closely related to avian influenza viruses that had circulated in live bird markets in the Northeast from 1994-2006. The virus was genetically closest to poultry viruses that were isolated from around 2000 and even had a unique deletion in the HA gene only seen in the H7 LBM lineage. Surveillance of the LBMs has not detected any H7N2 viruses of this lineage since 2006, and the source of the infection to cats appears unlikely to be from poultry. A chicken and duck transmission study was performed to provide additional evidence to determine if poultry had a possible role as source of the virus. The feline influenza virus was used to infect chickens at different doses and naïve contact controls were added two days later. Three H7 LBM lineage avian viruses were included in the study as well. No evidence of productive infection was seen in chickens with the cat virus, although not all chickens became infected with the avian viruses used in the same study. Eight ducks were also challenged with a high dose of the feline virus. Three ducks were positive by serology at 10 days post challenge, but only a few ducks shed low levels of virus at days 2 or 4 post-challenge. The feline viruses do not appear adapted to poultry and it seems unlikely that the H7N2 LBM lineage circulated in poultry undetected for over 10 years. The source of infection of the feline virus remains unknown.