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Avian Influenzavirus (AIV)
Avian Influenzavirus (AIV) - The Orthomyxoviridea includes avian influenzavirus and all other influenzavirus subtypes. Influenzavirus are 80-120 nm diameter, segmented RNA viruses, with a helical symmetry. Influenzavirus can be classified into two groups (A and C). Influenza A subtypes isolated from birds, pigs, horses, seals, whales, people and other animals are all closely related. Type C influenza is usually restricted to humans, but there have been documented exceptions.

Influenzavirus has a high rate of genetic recombination meaning that new serological and pathological subtypes frequently appear. This makes it extremely difficult to develop reliable assays that can detect all types of Influenzavirus.


AIV is distributed world wide primarily by migration of different avian species. Many species of waterfowl are asymptomatic carriers of AIV. Waterfowl are believed to be the primary reservoirs for influenza A, serving as a source of infection for other birds within their migratory path.

Infected birds can shed the virus via their respiratory system, ocular secretions and feces. There are no known incidences of vertical transmission.

Although direct transmission of AIV from birds to humans is very rare AIV is considered a zoonotic disease, meaning it is capable of being passed from birds and animal to humans. It is also quite possible that humans can infect birds with AIV, however this has not been documented.

Symptoms vary dramatically depending species infected, the age, environmental factors, and the virulence of the viral subtype. Some birds may die with out developing any clinical signs of illness, while others develop depression, loss of appetite, congestion, sneezing, and drop in egg production.

Psittacine birds may develop these symptoms as well as loss of balance or a twisted neck. Mortality rates in psittacines are as high as 30% with some virulent strains.
Prevention: Clean and disinfect all surfaces, as well as quarantine all new and infected birds. It is best to keep all free-ranging birds away from companion birds, domestic poultry, and fowl. A Vaccine is available, but does not protect against many different subtypes of AIV.
Treatment: There is no known treatment for AIV infections.
Diagnosis: HI tests, ELISA tests as well as PCR and sequence assays are available, but all offer limited success in identifying types of AIV.
Sample: Suitable for virus isolation are samples of the respiratory tract (trachea, lung airsac, nasal discharge). They can be swabs of tissue samples. Some influenza viruses can be isolated from the liver, spleen, lung or brain tissue.
Limitations: Because of the high rate of mutations occurring in AIV genome it makes it very difficult to detect all subtypes.

Avian Biotech International
1336 Timberlane Road    Tallahassee, FL 32312-1766
850-386-1145 or 800-514-9672 (Office)  850-386-1146 (Fax)

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