2010 - 2013

Study of transmission of avian influenza virus

Principal Investigator: Jiewen Guan, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Status: Completed


To determine the extent to which airborne transmission can contribute to the spread of avian influenza virus.


Avian influenza viruses (AIVs) are mainly transmitted by direct bird-to-bird contact and by contact with virus-contaminated materials. Some evidence suggests that airborne transmission may also contribute to spread of infectious virus. However, AIV airborne transmission between flocks is not well documented and information on the infectious doses of aerosolized virus is not available. This information is required for accurate risk assessment and to develop effective control strategies.


Dr. Guan and her team were able to establish the relationship between exposure level and uptake of aerosolized AIV (H9N2). The researchers determined that a very small amount of infectious virus can be transmitted to chickens from the air, and that the virus can be transmitted from chicken to chicken through indirect contact.


This research is part of an overall program to better understand the biology of avian influenza with the long-term goal of developing rational control strategies in domestic poultry. Dr. Guan’s results have significant implications to the risks associated with air-borne transmission of AIV.


$139,534 ($12,000 CFIA in-kind, $127,534 CPRC)


*This research was part of the 2010-2013 Poultry Science Cluster which was supported by AAFC as part of Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

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