The direct transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses to humans in Eurasia and subsequent disease has sparked research efforts leading to better understanding of HPAI virus transmission and pathogenicity in mammals. There has been minimal focus on examining the capacity of circulating low pathogenic wild bird avian influenza viruses to infect mammals. We have utilized a mouse model for influenza virus infection to examine 28 North American wild bird avian influenza virus isolates that include the hemagglutinin subtypes H2, H3, H4, H6, H7, and H11. We demonstrate that many wild bird avian influenza viruses of several different hemagglutinin types replicate in this mouse model without adaptation and induce histopathologic lesions similar to other influenza virus infections but cause minimal morbidity. These findings demonstrate the potential of wild avian influenza viruses to directly infect mice without prior adaptation and support their potential role in emergence of pandemic influenza.
- Avian influenza
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