Persistence of H5N1 high pathogenicity avian influenza virus (HPAIV), isolated during the epidemic in wild birds in Poland in 2006, was evaluated in three water samples derived from the sources known to host wild water birds (city pond, Vistula river mouth, and Baltic Sea). The virus was tested at two concentrations (104 and 106 median tissue culture infective dose per milliliter) and at three temperatures (4 C, 10 C, and 20 C), representing average seasonal temperatures in Poland. All tested water samples were filtered before virus inoculation, and one unfiltered sample (Baltic seawater) was also tested. Infectivity was determined twice a week over a 60-day trial period by microtiter endpoint titration. The persistence of the virus varied considerably depending on its concentration and also on physico-chemical parameters of the water, such as temperature and salinity. Avian influenza virus survival was the highest at 4 C and the lowest at 20 C. Prolonged infectivity of the virus in Baltic seawater (brackish, 7.8 ppt) was also seen. In distilled water, the virus retained its infectivity beyond the 60-day study period. Interestingly, a devastating effect of the unfiltered fraction of seawater was seen as the virus disappeared in this fraction the quickest in all studied combinations; thus, biologic factors may also affect infectivity of HPAIV.
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Vol. 54 • No. s1