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Virology. 2003 May 25;310(1):8-15.

Replication and transmission of influenza viruses in Japanese quail.

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Division of Virology, Department of Infectious Diseases, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 N. Lauderdale Street, Memphis, TN 38105-2794, USA.


Quail have emerged as a potential intermediate host in the spread of avian influenza A viruses in poultry in Hong Kong. To better understand this possible role, we tested the replication and transmission in quail of influenza A viruses of all 15 HA subtypes. Quail supported the replication of at least 14 subtypes. Influenza A viruses replicated predominantly in the respiratory tract. Transmission experiments suggested that perpetuation of avian influenza viruses in quail requires adaptation. Swine influenza viruses were isolated from the respiratory tract of quail at low levels. There was no evidence of human influenza A or B virus replication. Interestingly, a human-avian recombinant containing the surface glycoprotein genes of a quail virus and the internal genes of a human virus replicated and transmitted readily in quail; therefore, quail could function as amplifiers of influenza virus reassortants that have the potential to infect humans and/or other mammalian species.

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