Avian bornavirus in free-ranging waterfowl: prevalence of antibodies and cloacal shedding of viral RNA.

Delnatte P1, Nagy É, Ojkic D, Leishman D, Crawshaw G, Elias K, Smith DA. Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.


We surveyed free-ranging Canada Geese (Branta canadensis), Trumpeter Swans (Cygnus buccinator), Mute Swans (Cygnus olor), and Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) to estimate the prevalence of antibodies to avian bornavirus (ABV) and of cloacal shedding of ABV RNA in southern Ontario, Canada. Blood samples and cloacal swabs were collected from 206 free-ranging Canada Geese, 135 Trumpeter Swans, 75 Mute Swans, and 208 Mallards at 10 main capture sites between October 2010 and May 2012. Sera were assessed for antibodies against ABV by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and swabs were evaluated for ABV RNA using real-time reverse-transcription PCR. Serum antibodies were detected in birds from all four species and at each sampling site. Thirteen percent of the geese caught on the Toronto Zoo site shed ABV RNA in feces compared with 0% in geese sampled at three other locations. The proportions of shedders among Mute Swans, Trumpeter Swans, and Mallards were 9%, 0%, and 0%, respectively. Birds that were shedding viral RNA were more likely to have antibodies against ABV and to have higher antibody levels than those that were not, although many birds with antibodies were not shedding. We confirmed that exposure to, or infection with, ABV is widespread in asymptomatic free-ranging waterfowl in Canada; however, the correlation between cloacal shedding, presence of antibodies, and presence of disease is not fully understood.


Posted in 2014 Publications, Publication, Publication Nagy, Publication-Faculty, Publications.