Four 2-wk-old and four 4-wk-old aigamo ducks, a cross between wild and domestic ducks (Anas platyrhynchos and Anas platyrhynchos var. domesticus, respectively), were infected with the NY99 strain of West Nile virus (WNV) to investigate WNV's pathogenicity in aigamo ducks and the possibility that they could transmit WNV. In the group of infected 2-wk-old aigamo ducks (2w-infection group), all of the ducks ate and drank less and showed decreased activity, some showed ataxia, and one died. Meanwhile, the group of infected 4 wk olds (4w-infection group) showed no clinical signs during the experimental period. Viremia was observed in all of the ducks in both age groups. Peak viral titers in the three surviving members of the 2w-infection group were 103.7–105.3 plaque-forming units (PFU)/ml serum; the peak was 107.1 PFU/ml serum in the 2w duck that died from the infection. Peak viral titers in the 4w-infection group were 104.1–104.9 PFU/ml serum. Viral shedding in the oral and/or cloacal cavity was observed in all four members of the 2w-infection group and in three of the four members of the 4w-infection group. These results suggest that WNV-infected aigamo ducks can transmit WNV. Although aigamo ducks are reared in East Asia, where WNV is an exotic pathogen, the virus could be introduced and spread there in the future; thus it is important to take precautions against an introduction, and measures to prevent infection to aigamo duck operations should be prepared.
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Vol. 53 • No. 2