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Avian Pathol. 2007 Dec;36(6):461-5.

Susceptibility and transmissibility of pigeons to Asian lineage highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype H5N1.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Preventive Veterinary Medicine of Ministry of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine and State Key Laboratory of Agrobiotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.


To determine whether or not pigeons are susceptible to infection with Asian lineage highly pathogenic (HP) avian influenza virus (AIV) subtype H5N1 and can serve as a transmission host for H5N1 HPAIV, we experimentally infected 187 young and adult pigeons with five different isolates of H5N1 HPAIV and co-habited some experimentally infected pigeons with susceptible specific pathogen free chickens. Results showed that all infected pigeons remained clinically healthy during the observation period. No gross lesions or histopathological changes were observed in the infected pigeons, and haemagglutination inhibition antibodies were not detected in serum samples of the infected pigeons. Additionally, all chickens placed in contact with AIV H5N1 infected pigeons remained healthy, and no virus or haemagglutination inhibition antibodies were detected in samples from the chickens. Our data suggest that pigeons are not susceptible to Asian lineage H5N1 HPAIV and do not transmit the virus to chickens.

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