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The pathogenesis of clade H5 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis) and Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)

Erica Spackman, Diann J. Prosser, Mary J. Pantin-Jackwood, Alicia M. Berlin, Chirstopher B. Stephens
Journal of wildlife diseases 2017 v.53 no.4 pp. 1-11
Anas acuta, Aythya, Falco rusticolus, Influenza A virus, Oxyura jamaicensis, adults, antigens, biological resistance, coccidiosis, ducks, eggs, hosts, juveniles, monitoring, mortality, pathogenesis, pathogenicity, staining, tissues, viral shedding, viruses, waterfowl
Waterfowl are the natural hosts of avian influenza virus (AIV) and disseminate the virus worldwide through migration. Historically, surveillance and research efforts for AIV in waterfowl have focused on dabbling ducks. The role of diving ducks in AIV ecology has not been well characterized. In this study, we examined the relative susceptibility and pathogenicity of clade H5 highly pathogenic (HP) AIV (HPAIV) in two species of diving ducks. Juvenile and adult Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) and juvenile Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) were intranasally inoculated with A/Northern Pintail/WA/40964/2014 H5N2 HPAIV. Additional groups of juvenile Lesser Scaups were inoculated with A/Gyrfalcon/WA/41088/2014 H5N8 HPAIV. The approximate 50% bird infectious doses (BID50) of the H5N2 isolate for adult Ruddy Ducks was ,10(2) 50% egg infectious doses (EID50) and for the juvenile Lesser Scaups it was ,10(4) EID50. There were insufficient juvenile Ruddy Ducks to calculate the BID50. The BID50 for the juvenile Lesser Scaups inoculated with the H5N8 isolate was 10(3) EID50. Clinical disease was not observed in any group; however, mortality occurred in the juvenile Ruddy Ducks inoculated with the H5N2 virus (three of five ducks), and staining for AIV antigen was observed in numerous tissues from these ducks. One adult Ruddy Duck also died and although it was infected with AIV (the duck was positive for virus shedding and AIV antigen was detected in tissues), it was also infected with coccidiosis. The proportion of ducks shedding virus was related to the dose administered, but the titers were similar among dose groups. The group with the fewest ducks shedding virus was the adult Ruddy Ducks. There was a trend for the Lesser Scaups to shed higher titers of virus than the Ruddy Ducks. No virus shedding was detected after 7 d postinoculation in any group. Similar to dabbling ducks, Lesser Scaups and Ruddy Ducks are susceptible to infection with this H5 HPAIV lineage, although they excrete lower titers of virus.