The potential of low pathogenicity (LP) avian influenza virus (AIV) isolates of wild bird origin to establish infection in commercial turkeys and broiler chickens was studied. Isolates, representing subtypes H5N1, H7N3, H6N2, and H3N6, were recovered in 2005 and 2006 from waterfowl and shorebirds in the Delmarva Peninsula region of the east coast of the United States. The LP AIV isolates were not pathogenic for 2-wk-old meat-type turkeys and broiler chickens. No mortality, clinical signs, or gross lesions were observed following intratracheal and conjunctival sac routes of exposures with 106.0 EID50 (embryo infectious dose) per bird. Isolates resulting in an established infection based on virus isolation were: A/mallard/Maryland/1159/2006 (H5N1) in the upper respiratory tract of turkeys; A/mallard/Delaware/418/2005 (H7N3) in the upper respiratory and intestinal tracts of turkeys and chickens; and A/shorebird-environment/Delaware/251/2005 (H3N6) in the upper respiratory and intestinal tracts of chickens. Infections were also confirmed by production of AIV-specific serum antibodies detected by hemagglutination inhibition.
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Vol. 54 • No. 3