Infections of ostriches with avian influenza A viruses are generally associated with clinical disease, but the occasional high mortality in young birds does not appear to be related directly to virus pathotype. In this study we investigated the pathogenesis of two H7 viruses for 11-wk-old ostriches inoculated intranasally, and clinical symptoms, virus excretion, and immune response were studied. One of the viruses (A/Ostrich/Italy/1038/00) was highly pathogenic for chickens, whereas the other (A/Ostrich/South Africa/1609/91) was of low pathogenicity for chickens. Clinical signs in ostriches receiving virulent virus were slight depression and hemorrhagic diarrhea, while the group receiving avirulent virus was clinically normal except for green diarrhea. Both viruses were transmitted to in-contact sentinel birds housed with the infected groups 3 days postinfection. Postmortem examination of the birds infected (including the sentinel bird) with virus highly pathogenic for chickens were grossly normal except for localized pneumonic lesions. The results of the study are presented and discussed.
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