Volume 20, Number 3—March 2014
Jeremy C. Jones, Stephanie Sonnberg, Zeynep A. Koçer, Karthik Shanmuganatham, Patrick Seiler, Yuelong Shu, Huachen Zhu, Yi Guan, Malik Peiris, Richard J. Webby, and Robert G. Webster
Author affiliations: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee, USA (J.C. Jones, S. Sonnberg, Z.A. Kocer, K. Shanmuganatham, P. Seiler, R.J. Webby, R.G. Webster); Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China (Y. Shu); Shantou University Medical College, Shantou, China (H. Zhu, Y. Guan); State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Shenzhen Third People's Hospital, Shenzhen, China (H. Zhu, Y. Guan, M. Peiris); The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China (H. Zhu, Y. Guan, M. Peiris)
AbstractAvian-origin influenza A(H7N9) recently emerged in China, causing severe human disease. Several subtype H7N9 isolates contain influenza genes previously identified in viruses from finch-like birds. Because wild and domestic songbirds interact with humans and poultry, we investigated the susceptibility and transmissibility of subtype H7N9 in these species. Finches, sparrows, and parakeets supported replication of a human subtype H7N9 isolate, shed high titers through the oropharyngeal route, and showed few disease signs. Virus was shed into water troughs, and several contact animals seroconverted, although they shed little virus. Our study demonstrates that a human isolate can replicate in and be shed by such songbirds and parakeets into their environment. This finding has implications for these birds’ potential as intermediate hosts with the ability to facilitate transmission and dissemination of A(H7N9) virus.