U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service






Root, J.J., J.W. Ellis, and S.A. Shriner. 2020. Effects of freshwater crayfish on influenza A virus persistence in water. Zoonoses and Public Health 67(3):300-307. doi: 10.1111/zph.12688


Several investigations have recently assessed the ability of some aquatic invertebrates to act as tools for avian influenza A virus (IAV) surveillance as well as their potential role(s) in IAV ecology. Because of this, as well as the high IAV seroprevalence rates noted in select mesocarnivores that commonly inhabit aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats, we evaluated the effects that freshwater crayfish have on IAV in water at three dose levels and monitored for the presence of IAV in crayfish tissues (gill and green gland) and haemolymph at multiple time points. At relatively high, medium 432 and low (approximately 10 , 10 and 10 EID50/ml, respectively) doses, mesocosms containing crayfish (Orconectes sp.) had less detectable IAV RNA present when final water samples were assayed (9 days post-contact [DPC]). In general, containers without crayfish present had nearly three-fold greater quantities of viral RNA at 9 DPC. A varying number of RNA positive samples were detected for the three crayfish sample types collected. Gill tissue produced the largest number of positive non-water samples (n = 26), with the highest quantities detected from crayfish sampled on 1 and 4 DPC (103.5 EID50 equivalent/ml). On a few occasions, gill (n = 8) and haemolymph samples (n = 1) produced higher quantities of viral RNA than their respective water samples or water samples collected 1–2 DPC earlier, but these differences were typically minor. Based upon water samples, statistical models indicated that the interaction of dose and crayfish exposure days explained most of the variation in these data. Future efforts should address if crayfish exposed to IAV-laden water have the capacity to successfully transmit IAVs to mammals and birds which frequently prey upon them.