SUMMARY. We showed here that an H5N8-subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) was transmitted to both the internal contents and shells of eggs laid by white leghorn hens experimentally infected with the virus. Seven of eight HPAIV-infected hens laid eggs until 4 days postinoculation (dpi). The mean number of eggs laid per head daily decreased significantly from 0.58 before inoculation to 0.18 after viral inoculation. The virus was detected in the eggs laid by three of the seven hens. Viral transmission was detectable beginning on 3 dpi, and virus titers in tracheal and cloacal swabs from the hens that laid the contaminated eggs exceeded 2.9 log10 EID50. The level of viral replication and its timing when virus replicates enough to be detected in oviduct after virus inoculation appear to be key factors in the transmission of H5N8 HPAIV from infected hens to laid eggs.
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Vol. 60 • No. 2