Subtype H3 influenza A viruses (IAVs) are abundant in wild waterfowl and also infect humans, pigs, horses, dogs, and seals. In Minnesota, turkeys are important and frequent hosts of IAV from wild waterfowl and from pigs. Over 48 yr of surveillance history, 11 hemagglutinin (HA) subtypes of IAV from waterfowl, as well as two HA subtypes from swine, H1 and H3, have infected turkeys in Minnesota. However, there have only been two cases of avian-origin H3 IAV infections in turkeys during this 48-yr period. The first avian-origin IAV infection was detected in seven breeder and commercial flocks in 1982 and was caused by a mixed H3H4/N2 infection. In 2013, an avian-origin H3H9/N2 outbreak occurred in five flocks of turkeys between 15 and 56 wk of age. Phylogenetic analysis of the HA gene segment from the 2013 isolate indicated that the virus was related to a wild bird lineage H3 IAV. A meta-analysis of historical H3 infections in domesticated poultry demonstrated that avian-origin H3 infections have occurred in chickens and ducks but were rare in turkeys. H9N2 virus was subsequently selected during the egg cultivation of the 2013 H3H9/N2 mixed virus. A growth curve analysis suggested that passage 3 of A/Turkey/Minnesota/13-20710-2/2013(mixed) had a slightly lower replication rate than a similar avian-origin H3N2. The challenge studies indicated that the infectious dose of avian-origin H3N2 for turkey poults was greater than 106 50% egg infective dose. Considered together, these data suggest that avian-origin H3 introductions to turkeys are rare events.
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Vol. 60 • No. 1s