United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, 934 College Station Road, Athens, GA 30605, USA.
Two different wild duck species common in Chile and neighboring countries, Chiloe wigeon (Anas sibilatrix) and cinnamon teal (Anas cyanoptera), were intranasally inoculated with 10(6) mean embryo infective dose (EID50) of the H7N3 low pathogenicity (LP) avian influenza virus (AIV) (A/chicken/Chile/176822/02) or high pathogenicity (HP) AIV (A/chicken/Chile/ 184240-1/02), in order to study the infectivity and pathobiology of these viruses. None of the virus-inoculated ducks had clinical signs or died, but most seroconverted by 14 days postinoculation (DPI), indicating a productive virus infection. Both LPAIV and HPAIV were isolated from oral swabs from two of six Chiloe wigeons and from oral and/or cloacal swabs from all five of the cinnamon teal at 2 DPI. Both LPAIV and HPAIV were efficiently transmitted to cinnamon teal contacts but not to Chiloe wigeon contacts. This study demonstrates that the cinnamon teal and Chiloe wigeons were susceptible to infection with both Chilean H7N3 LPAIV and HPAIV, but only the cinnamon teal showed contact transmission of the virus between birds, suggesting that the cinnamon teal has the potential to be a reservoir for these viruses, especially the LPAIV, as was demonstrated in 2001 with isolation of a genetically related H7N3 LPAIV strain in a cinnamon teal in Bolivia. However, the definitive source of the H7N3 Chilean LPAIV still remains unknown.