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Vet Microbiol. 2018 Dec;227:127-132. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2018.10.028. Epub 2018 Nov 2.

Experimental infection of racing pigeons (Columba livia domestica) with highly pathogenic Clade 2.3.4.4 sub-group B H5N8 avian influenza virus.

Author information

1
Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, 0110, South Africa. Electronic address: celia.abolnik@up.ac.za.
2
Department of Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, 0110, South Africa.
3
Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Private Bag X04, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa.

Abstract

Reported mass mortalities in wild pigeons and doves during the 2017/2018 Clade 2.3.4.4 HPAI H5N8 outbreaks in South Africa necessitated an investigation of healthy racing pigeons for their susceptibility and ability to transmit a Clade 2.3.4.4 sub-group B virus of South African origin. Pigeons challenged with medium (104.5 EID50) and high doses (106 EID50) but not a low dose (103 EID50) of virus, shed virus in low levels of <103 EID50/ml from the oropharynx and cloaca for up to eight days, with peak shedding around 4 days post challenge. Challenged pigeons were able to transmit the virus to contact pigeons, but not contact chickens. Neither pigeons nor chickens presented clinical disease, and only two pigeons in the group that received the high challenge dose developed influenza A-virus specific antibodies. The levels of virus shed by the racing pigeons were well below the published bird infectious dose 50 values for most poultry, especially chickens, therefore the risk that racing pigeons could act as propagators and disseminators through excretion of Clade 2.3.4.4 HPAI H5N8 strains remains negligible.

KEYWORDS:

Chickens; Clade 2.3.4.4; Highly pathogenic avian influenza; Pigeons

PMID:
30473343
DOI:
10.1016/j.vetmic.2018.10.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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