Four- and nine-week-old poults were inoculated with cell culture propagated avian pneumovirus (APV) into each conjunctival space and nostril, followed by inoculation 3 days later with Escherichia coli, Bordetella avium (BA), or Ornithobacterium rhinotracheale or a mixture of all three (EBO). Clinical signs were evaluated on days 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 14 postinoculation (PI) of APV. The poults were euthanatized on days 2, 4, 6, 10, and 14 PI, and blood and tissues were collected. The poults that received APV followed by EBO or BA alone developed more severe clinical signs related to nasal discharge and swelling of intraorbital sinuses than did poults inoculated with APV alone or bacteria alone. More severe pathologic changes were found in poults inoculated with APV BA that extended to the air sacs and lungs, particularly in 9-wk-old poults. Bordetella avium was recovered from tracheas and lungs of birds that were inoculated with APV followed by EBO or BA alone. APV was detected by immunohistochemical staining in the upper respiratory tract longer in the groups of poults inoculated with APV and pathogenic bacteria than in those that received only APV, particularly when BA was involved. Viral antigen was also detected in the lungs of poults that were inoculated with APV followed by administration of EBO or BA alone. Loss of cilia on the epithelial surface of the upper respiratory tract was associated with BA infection and may enhance infection with APV, allowing deeper penetration of the virus into the respiratory tract.
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