Main content area

The pathogenesis of low pathogenicity H7 avian influenza viruses in chickens, ducks and turkeys

Spackman, Erica, Gelb Jr., Jack, Preskenis, Lauren A., Ladman, Brian S., Pope, Conrad R., Pantin-Jackwood, Mary J., Mckinley, Enid T.
Virology journal 2010 v.7 no.331 pp. 331
Orthomyxoviridae, avian influenza, chickens, disease resistance, disease severity, dosage, ducks, eggs, mortality, nucleotide sequences, pathogenesis, pathogenicity, seroconversion, turkeys, viral shedding, viruses, water birds, North America
Avian influenza (AI) viruses infect numerous avian species, and low pathogenicity (LP) AI viruses of the H7 subtype are typically reported to produce mild or subclinical infections in both wild aquatic birds and domestic poultry. However relatively little work has been done to compare LPAI viruses from different avian species for their ability to cause disease in domestic poultry under the same conditions. In this study twelve H7 LPAI virus isolates from North America were each evaluated for their comparative pathogenesis in chickens, ducks, and turkeys. All 12 isolates were able to infect all three species at a dose of 10(6) 50% egg infectious doses based on seroconversion, although not all animals seroconverted with each isolate-species combination. The severity of disease varied among isolate and species combinations, but there was a consistent trend for clinical disease to be most severe in turkeys where all 12 isolates induced disease, and mortality was observed in turkeys exposed to 9 of the 12 viruses. Turkeys also shed virus by the oral and cloacal routes at significantly higher titers than either ducks or chickens at numerous time points. Only 3 isolates induced observable clinical disease in ducks and only 6 isolates induced disease in chickens, which was generally very mild and did not result in mortality. Full genome sequence was completed for all 12 isolates and some isolates did have features consistent with adaptation to poultry (e.g. NA stalk deletions), however none of these features correlated with disease severity. The data suggests that turkeys may be more susceptible to clinical disease from the H7 LPAI viruses included in this study than either chickens or ducks. However the severity of disease and degree of virus shed was not clearly correlated with any isolate or group of isolates, but relied on specific species and isolate combinations.