Variation in viral shedding patterns between different wild bird species infected experimentally with low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses that originated from wild birds

Taiana P. Costa, Justin D. Brown, Elizabeth W. Howerth, David E. Stallknecht

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52 Scopus citations


The prevalence of infection with avian influenza (AI) virus varies significantly between taxonomic Orders and even between species within the same Order. The current understanding of AI infection and virus shedding parameters in wild birds is limited and largely based on trials conducted in mallards (Anas platyrhynchos). The objective of the present study was to provide experimental data to examine species-related differences in susceptibility and viral shedding associated with wild bird-origin low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) viruses in multiple duck species and gulls. Thus mallards, redheads (Aythya americana), wood ducks (Aix sponsa), and laughing gulls (Leucophaeus atricilla) were inoculated experimentally with three wild mallardorigin LPAI viruses representing multiple subtypes. Variation in susceptibility and patterns of viral shedding associated with LPAI virus infection was evident between the duck and gull species. Consistent with the literature, mallards excreted virus predominantly via the gastrointestinal tract. In wood ducks, redheads, and laughing gulls, AI virus was detected more often in oropharyngeal swabs than cloacal swabs. The results of this study suggest that LPAI shedding varies between taxonomically related avian species. Such differences may be important for understanding the potential role of individual species in the transmission and maintenance of LPAI viruses and may have implications for improving sampling strategies for LPAI detection. Additional comparative studies, which include LPAI viruses originating from non-mallard species, are necessary to further characterize these infections in wild avian species other than mallards and provide a mechanism to explain these differences in viral excretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalAvian Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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