Experimental infection of SPF and Korean native chickens with highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N8)

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In 2014, an H5N8 outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) occurred in South Korea. The H5N8 strain produced mild to moderate clinical signs and mortality rates in commercial chicken farms, especially Korean native chicken farms. To understand the differences between their pathogenicity in SPF chicken and Korean native chicken., we evaluated the mean bird lethal doses (BLD50) of the Korean representative H5N8 virus (A/broiler duck/Korea/Buan2/2014) The BLD50 values of the H5N8 virus were 105.3 EID50 and 106.7 EID50 in SPF and Korean native chickens, respectively. In addition, the mean death time was much longer, and the viral titers in tissues of H5N8-infected chickens were significantly lower, in the Korean group than in the SPF group. These features of the H5N8 virus likely account for its mild-to-moderate pathogenicity in commercial chicken farms, especially Korean native chicken flocks, despite the fact that it is a highly pathogenic virus according to the OIE criteria. To improve current understanding and management of HPAI, pathogenic characterization of novel emerging viruses should be performed by natural route in major poultry species in each country.

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