Surveillance for low pathogenicity avian influenza virus (LPAIV) infections has primarily relied on labor-intensive collection and serological testing of serum, but for many poultry diseases, easier-to-collect yolk samples have replaced serum for surveillance testing. A time-course LPAIV infection study in layers was performed to evaluate the utility of antibody detection in serum vs. egg yolk samples. Layers inoculated with the LPAIV A/Bobwhite Quail/Pennsylvania/20304/98 (H7N2) were tested for antibody levels in the serum and egg yolk by using the agar gel immunodiffusion test (AGID), hemagglutination-inhibition test (HI), and a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Anti-influenza specific antibodies were detected in the serum as early as 7 days postinoculation (DPI), and the majority of the hens remained positive until 42 DPI. Antibodies in the egg yolk were first detected by AGID at 7 DPI, which was also the first day of detection in serum. However, the majority of the eggs were positive by all techniques at 11 DPI and remained positive until 42 DPI, at which time the number of AGID and HI samples declined slightly as compared to ELISA samples. These results suggest that egg yolk can be an alternative to serum for flock serological surveillance against LPAIV infections, and the three methods (AGID, HI, and ELISA) will give similar results for first 42 days after infection, although AGID may give earlier positive response.
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Vol. 56 • No. 3