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Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N2 (Clade 2.3.4.4) challenge of mallards age appropriate to the 2015 midwestern poultry outbreak

July 29, 2021

Background

The 2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N2 clade 2.3.4.4 outbreak in upper midwestern U.S. poultry operations was not detected in wild birds to any great degree during the outbreak, despite wild waterfowl being implicated in the introduction, reassortment, and movement of the virus into North America from Asia. This outbreak led to the demise of over 50 million domestic birds and occurred mainly during the northward spring migration of adult avian populations.

Objectives

There have been no experimental examinations of the pathogenesis, transmission, and population impacts of this virus in adult wild waterfowl with varying exposure histories—the most relevant age class.

Methods

We captured, housed, and challenged adult wild mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) with HPAIV H5N2 clade 2.3.4.4 and measured viral infection, viral excretion, and transmission to other mallards.

Results

All inoculated birds became infected and excreted moderate amounts of virus, primarily orally, for up to 14 days. Cohoused, uninoculated birds also all became infected. Serological status had no effect on susceptibility. There were no obvious clinical signs of disease, and all birds survived to the end of the study (14 days).

Conclusions

Based on these results, adult mallards are viable hosts of HPAIV H5N2 regardless of prior exposure history and are capable of transporting the virus over short and long distances. These findings have implications for surveillance efforts. The capture and sampling of wild waterfowl in the spring, when most surveillance programs are not operating, are important to consider in the design of future HPAIV surveillance programs.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N2 (Clade 2.3.4.4) challenge of mallards age appropriate to the 2015 midwestern poultry outbreak
DOI 10.1111/irv.12886
Authors Jeffrey S. Hall, Daniel A. Grear, Scott Krauss, Patrick Seiler, Robert J. Dusek, Sean Nashold, Robert G. Webster
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses
Index ID 70222931
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wildlife Health Center

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