Avian influenza in birds and mammals

Carol J. Cardona, Zheng Xing, Christian E. Sandrock, Cristina E. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The disease syndromes caused by avian influenza viruses are highly variable depending on the host species infected, its susceptibility and response to infection and the virulence of the infecting viral strain. Although avian influenza viruses have a broad host range in general, it is rare for an individual strain or subtype to infect more than one species. The H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) lineages of viruses that descended from A/goose/Guandong/96 (H5N1 HPAIV) are unusual in the diversity of species they have infected worldwide. Although the species affected by H5N1 HPAI in the field and those that have been experimentally studied are diverse, their associated disease syndromes are remarkably similar across species. In some species, multi-organ failure and death are rapid and no signs of the disease are observed. Most prominently in this category are chickens and other avian species of the order Galliformes. In other species, neurologic signs develop resulting in the death of the host. This is what has been reported in domestic cats (Carnivora), geese (Anseriformes), ratites (Struthioniformes), pigeons inoculated with high doses (Columbiformes) and ducks infected with H5N1 HPAIV isolated since 2002 (Anseriformes). In some other species, the disease is more prolonged and although multi-organ failure and death are the eventual outcomes, the signs of disease are more extensive. Predominantly, these species include humans (Primates) and the laboratory models of human disease, the ferret (Carnivora), mouse (Rodentia) and cynamologous macaques (Primates). Finally, some species are more resistant to infection with H5N1 HPAIV and show few or no signs of disease. These species include pigeons in some studies (Columbiformes), ducks inoculated with pre-2002 isolates (Anseriformes), and pigs (Artiodactyla).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-273
Number of pages19
JournalComparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Avian influenza
  • Birds
  • Disease
  • H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza
  • Lesions
  • Mammals


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