Susceptibility of New World waterfowl to the Lake Andes strain of duck plague virus (DPV) was assessed by intramuscular inoculation of adult muscovies (Cairina moschata), mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), Canada geese (Branta canadensis), wood ducks (Aix sponsa), redheads (Aythya americana), gadwalls (Anas strepera), blue-winged teal (Anas discors), and pintails (Anas acuta). The relative virulence of DPV strains isolated from five United States and one Canadian location was established in muscovies, mallards, and Canada geese. Differences in DPV strain virulence were detected by formation of plaques in cell culture. Two strains that consistently formed plaques killed adult mallards while non-plaque forming strains killed hatchling but not adult mallards. Based on mortality after exposure to the Lake Andes strain, blue-winged teal, then wood ducks and redheads were highly susceptible, muscovies and gadwalls moderately susceptible, mallards and Canada geese less susceptible, and pintails the least susceptible. Mean death times were significantly (P < 0.01) different between adult muscovies (4.5 days) versus mallards and Canada geese (5.8 days each). Mean death time of the virulent Lake Andes and Minnesota strains were shorter (P < 0.05) than for the other four, less virulent DPV strains. Four of the less virulent strains killed hatchling but not adult mallards. Susceptibility to mortality was dependent upon age and route of inoculation. The intramuscular route of inoculation required the least amount of virus to kill mallard and muscovy ducks, the intranasal and conjunctival routes required more virus, and the oral route the most virus. This study was conducted from 1974 to 1977 between the months of September and April, with the exception of two titrations conducted in early May at the University of Wisconsin Department of Veterinary Science and the Charmany research facility of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
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Vol. 32 • No. 3