Date of this Version
Virology 495 (2016) 161-166
Emergent H7N9 influenza A virus has caused multiple public health and financial hardships. While some epidemiological studies have recognized infected chickens as an important bridge for human infections, the generality of this observation, the minimum infectious dose, and the shedding potential of chickens have received conflicting results. We experimentally tested the ability of domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) to transmit H7N9 to co-housed chickens and to several other animal species in an experimental live animal market. Results indicated that an infected chicken failed to initiate viral shedding of H7N9 to naIve co-housed chickens. The infected chicken did, however, successfully transmit the virus to quail (Cotumix sp.) located directly below the infected chicken cage. Oral shedding by indirectly infected quail was, on average, greater than ten-fold that of directly inoculated chickens. Best management practices in live animal market systems should consider the position of quail in stacked-cage settings.