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August 05, 2005

Role of domestic ducks in the propagation and biological evolution of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses in Asia.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 26; 102(30): 10682-7
Hulse-Post DJ, Sturm-Ramirez KM, Humberd J, Seiler P, Govorkova EA, Krauss S, Scholtissek C, Puthavathana P, Buranathai C, Nguyen TD, Long HT, Naipospos TS, Chen H, Ellis TM, Guan Y, Peiris JS, Webster RG

Wild waterfowl, including ducks, are natural hosts of influenza A viruses. These viruses rarely caused disease in ducks until 2002, when some H5N1 strains became highly pathogenic. Here we show that these H5N1 viruses are reverting to nonpathogenicity in ducks. Ducks experimentally infected with viruses isolated between 2003 and 2004 shed virus for an extended time (up to 17 days), during which variant viruses with low pathogenicity were selected. These results suggest that the duck has become the "Trojan horse" of Asian H5N1 influenza viruses. The ducks that are unaffected by infection with these viruses continue to circulate these viruses, presenting a pandemic threat.

Posted by dymaxion at August 5, 2005 02:38 PM

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