1Department of Avian Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
2Department of Avian Virology, Veterinary Laboratory Agency, Weybridge, Surrey, KT15, 3NB, UK
3Department of Pathology, Veterinary Laboratory Agency, Weybridge, Surrey, KT15, 3NB, UK
Most highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (AIV) emerge after field passage of non-pathogenic AIVs in birds. The outbreak of low-pathogenic H7N1 avian influenza virus in Italy during 1999-2000 followed by outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N1 avian influenza virus is one example in this regard. This experiment has been designed to investigate the effect of pre-infection of birds with LPAI on subsequent challenge with HPAI virus from the same outbreak. Chickens were inoculated intranasally with LP H7N1 A/CK/Italy/1279/99 avian influenza virus at 3 weeks of age and two groups of 10 birds were challenged at 18 and 24 weeks of age with homologous HP H7N1 A/ostrich/Italy/984/00 virus from the same outbreak. The overall mortality of birds was 60%; pre-infected challenged birds died 4-17 days post challenge (PC), while naive birds died 2 days PC. Pre-infected birds showed peritonitis, salpingitis and oophoritis in necropsy and histopathology showed very severe necrosis of the spleen, pancreas, moderate to severe necrosis of the liver and inconsistent degeneration and inflammation of the lung. Necropsy of the control bird showed petechial haemorrhage on the heart, caecal tonsils and the tracheal mucosa.