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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Intervention Strategies to Control and Prevent Disease Outbreaks Caused by Avian Influenza and Other Emerging Poultry Pathogens

Location: Exotic and Emerging Avian Viral Diseases Research Unit

Title: Susceptibility of avian species to north american H13 low pathogenic avian influenza viruses

Authors
item Brown, Justin -
item Poulson, Rebecca -
item Carter, Deborah -
item Lebarbenchon, Camille -
item Pantin-Jackwood, Mary
item Spackman, Erica
item Shepherd, Eric
item Killian, Mary -
item Stallknecht, David -

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 12, 2012
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
Citation: Brown, J., Poulson, R., Carter, D., Lebarbenchon, C., Pantin Jackwood, M.J., Spackman, E., Shepherd, E.M., Killian, M., Stallknecht, D. 2012. Susceptibility of avian species to north american H13 low pathogenic avian influenza viruses. Avian Diseases. 56:969–975.

Interpretive Summary: Avian Influenza (AI) viruses vary in their ability to cause disease in different bird species. Gulls are reservoirs for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses and a wide diversity of influenza viruses have been isolated from them. However, two hemagglutinin subtypes (H13 and H16) are maintained almost exclusively within gull populations. In this study the host range of these gull-adapted influenza strains was examined. Multiple strains of H13 LPAI virus were used to challenge ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis), mallards (Anas platryrhynchos), chickens (Gallus domesticus), and turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). The susceptibility to H13 LPAI viruses varied between species and viral strain. Gulls were highly susceptible to H13 LPAI virus infection and excreted virus for several days. Turkeys and ducks were resistant to infection with most strains of H13 LPAI virus, but low numbers of inoculated birds were infected after challenge with specific strains. Chickens were refractory to infection with all challenge strains of H13 LPAI virus they were challenged with. Results are consistent with existing surveillance and experimental data on H13 LPAI viruses in birds, and indicate that influenza viruses of the H13 subtype are strongly host-adapted to gulls.

Technical Abstract: Gulls are widely recognized reservoirs for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) viruses; however, the subtypes maintained in these populations and/or the transmission mechanisms involved are poorly understood. Although, a wide diversity of influenza viruses have been isolated from gulls, two hemagglutinin subtypes (H13 and H16) are rarely detected in other avian groups and existing surveillance data suggests they are maintained almost exclusively within gull populations. In order to evaluate the host range of these gull-adapted influenza strains and to characterize viral infection in the gull host, we conducted a series of challenge experiments, with multiple strains of H13 LPAI virus in ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis), mallards (Anas platryrhynchos), chickens (Gallus domesticus), and turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo). The susceptibility to H13 LPAI viruses varied between species and viral strain. Gulls were highly susceptible to H13 LPAI virus infection and excreted virus via the respiratory and intestinal tracts for several days. The quantity and duration of shedding was similar between the two routes, but overall was greater via the respiratory tract. Turkeys and ducks were resistant to infection with most strains of H13 LPAI virus, but low numbers of inoculated birds were infected after challenge with specific strains. Chickens were refractory to infection with all challenge strains of H13 LPAI virus they were challenged with. Results are consistent with existing surveillance and experimental data on H13 LPAI viruses in birds, and indicate that influenza viruses of the H13 subtype are strongly host-adapted to gulls.

Last Modified: 10/31/2014
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