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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 Jul;77(14):4981-5. doi: 10.1128/AEM.00415-11. Epub 2011 May 27.

Persistence of avian influenza viruses in lake sediment, duck feces, and duck meat.

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Institute of Environmental and Animal Hygiene, University of Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 30, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany.


The persistence of 3 low-pathogenicity avian influenza viruses (LPAIV) (H4N6, H5N1, and H6N8) and one human influenza virus (H1N1) as well as Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and enteric cytopathogenic bovine orphan (ECBO) virus was investigated in lake sediment, duck feces, and duck meat at 30, 20, 10, and 0°C using a germ carrier technique. Virus-loaded germ carriers were incubated in each substrate, and residual infectivity of the eluted virus was quantified on cell culture after regular intervals for a maximum of 24 weeks. Data were analyzed by a linear regression model to calculate T(90) values (time required for 90% loss of virus infectivity) and estimated persistence of the viruses. In general, the persistence of all of the viruses was highest in lake sediment, followed by feces, and was the lowest in duck meat at all temperatures. For the avian influenza virus subtypes, T(90) values in sediment ranged from 5 to 11, 13 to 18, 43 to 54, and 66 to 394 days at 30, 20, 10, and 0°C, respectively, which were 2 to 5 times higher than the T(90) values of the viruses in the feces and meat. Although the individual viruses vary in tenacity, the survival time of influenza viruses was shorter than that of NDV and ECBO virus in all substrates. The results of this study suggest that lake sediment may act as a long-term source of influenza viruses in the aquatic habitat, while the viruses may remain infectious for extended periods of time in duck feces and meat at low temperatures, allowing persistence of the viruses in the environment over winter.

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