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Vet Pathol. 2013 May;50(3):548-59. doi: 10.1177/0300985812469633. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Replication of 2 subtypes of low-pathogenicity avian influenza virus of duck and gull origins in experimentally infected Mallard ducks.

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Department of Pathology & Microbiology, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada.


Many subtypes of low-pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) virus circulate in wild bird reservoirs, but their prevalence may vary among species. We aimed to compare by real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, virus isolation, histology, and immunohistochemistry the distribution and pathogenicity of 2 such subtypes of markedly different origins in Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos): H2N3 isolated from a Mallard duck and H13N6 isolated from a Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis). Following intratracheal and intraesophageal inoculation, neither virus caused detectable clinical signs, although H2N3 virus infection was associated with a significantly decreased body weight gain during the period of virus shedding. Both viruses replicated in the lungs and air sacs until approximately day 3 after inoculation and were associated with a locally extensive interstitial, exudative, and proliferative pneumonia. Subtype H2N3, but not subtype H13N6, went on to infect the epithelia of the intestinal mucosa and cloacal bursa, where it replicated without causing lesions until approximately day 5 after inoculation. Larger quantities of subtype H2N3 virus were detected in cloacal swabs than in pharyngeal swabs. The possible clinical significance of LPAI virus-associated pulmonary lesions and intestinal tract infection in ducks deserves further evaluation.


Mallard duck; PCR; Ring-billed Gull; avian influenza; immunohistochemistry; low-pathogenicity; pneumonia; virus isolation

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