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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Varied Pathogenicity of a Hong Kong-Origin H5n1 Avian Influenza Virus in Four Passerine Species and Budgerigars

item Perkins, Laura
item Swayne, David

Submitted to: Veterinary Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 12, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: This investigation determines that intranasal administration of the A/chicken/Hong Kong/220/97 (H5N1) highly pathogenic avian influenza virus can result in infection and severe systemic disease in zebra finches, house finches, and budgerigars. In particular, the virus demonstrated a predilection for localization in the multiple tissues of the zebra finches and in the brains of the house finches and budgerigars. Conversely, the virus was only mildly pathogenic for house sparrows, with viral antigen being demonstrated in the heart and testicle of a minority of sparrows. Starlings were resistant to disease associated with intranasal inoculation of this virus.

Technical Abstract: This investigation assesses the ability of the zoonotic A/chicken/Hong Kong/220/97 (H5N1) highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) to infect and cause disease in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata), house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus), house sparrows (Passer domesticus), European starlings (Sternus vulgaris), and budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus) following intranasal administration. Zebra finches were the mos severely affected, experiencing 100% mortality within 5 days of inoculation. Histological lesions and corresponding viral antigen were observed in multiple organs in this species. Neurological signs were the most significant clinical findings in the house finches and budgerigars. Antigen-associated lesions were most consistently in the brain and pancreas of the house finches and in the brain of the budgerigars. House sparrows had only mild depression but no mortality. Viral antigen and lesions were observed only in the heart and testicle of few sparrows. Starlings had no clinical signs, mortality, nor antigen-associated lesions. These results indicate there can be significant variation in the pathogenicity of this HPAIV for different species of birds.

Last Modified: 4/21/2015
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