A study shows the high susceptibility of the partridge against the highly pathogenic H7N1 strain

A group of researchers from CReSA studied the susceptibility of the red-legged partridge to two strains of avian influenza virus and showed that this specie may contribute to the spread of a potential local outbreak of the virus.

An experimental infection with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) and low pathogenic avian influenza virus (LPAIV) was carried out in red-legged partridges (Alectoris rufa) in order to study clinical signs, gross and microscopic lesions, and viral distribution in tissues and viral shedding.

Birds were infected with a HPAIV subtype H7N1 and a LPAIV subtype H7N9. In HPAIV infected birds, the first clinical signs were observed at 3 days post-infection (dpi), and mortality started at 4 dpi, reaching 100% at 8 dpi. The presence of viral antigen in tissues and viral shedding were confirmed in all birds infected with HPAIV. In addition to the oropharyngeal and cloacal routes, the importance of the feather pulp as a possible route of transmission was demonstrated. However, neither clinical signs nor histopathological findings were observed in LPAIV infected partridges. In addition, only short-term viral shedding together with seroconversion was detected in some LPAIV inoculated animals.

The present study demonstrates that the red-legged partridge is highly susceptible to the H7N1 HPAIV strain, causing severe disease, mortality and abundant viral shedding and thus contributing to the spread of a potential local outbreak of this virus. In contrast, our results concerning H7N9 LPAIV suggest that the red-legged partridge is not a reservoir species for this virus.

Results have been recently published in: Bertran K, Pérez-Ramírez E, Busquets N, Dolz R, Ramis A, Darji A, Abad FX, Valle R, Chaves A, Vergara-Alert J, Barral M, Höfle U, Majó N. Pathogenesis and transmissibility of highly (H7N1) and low (H7N9) pathogenic avian influenza virus infection in red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa). Vet Res. 2011 Feb 7;42(1):24.

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To contact the author of this article:
Kateri Bertran Dols
PhD student
Email: kateri.bertran@cresa.uab.cat
Phone: +34 935814561
Edifici CReSA. Campus UAB
08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona) Spain

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