Poster Presentation 64th International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association 2015

Interclass transmission of avian-origin influenza A virus through common resources (#182)

Jeff Root 1 , Susan A Shriner 1 , Jeremy W Ellis 1 , Kaci K VanDalen 1 , Heather J Sullivan 1 , Alan B. Franklin 1
  1. National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, CO, United States

The potential role of wild mammals in avian influenza A virus (IAV) transmission cycles has received some attention in recent years and cases where birds have transmitted IAV to mammals have been documented.  However, the contrasting cycle, wherein a mammal could transmit an avian-origin IAV to birds, has been largely overlooked.  We experimentally tested the abilities of two mammalian species to transmit avian-origin IAV to mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in simulated natural environments.  Results suggested that striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) can successfully transmit avian-origin IAV to mallards through indirect contact with shared resources, as transmission was noted in 1 of 4 of the mallards tested.  Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus sp.) exhibited a similar pattern, as one of five cottontail rabbits successfully transmitted IAV to a mallard, likely through environmental contamination.  These results suggest that certain mammal species should be taken into consideration in biosecurity plans.