Turkey Breeders Infected with H1N1 Flu During AI

US - Scientists have shown that breeding turkeys may become infected with the H1N1 influenza virus during artificial insemination (AI).
calendar icon 12 February 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Researchers at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Athens, Georgia, have investigated the susceptibility of turkeys to pandemic-H1N1 influenza virus by reproductive tract insemination. The paper has been published in Virology Journal by Mary Pantin-Jackwood and colleagues.

They explain that the current pandemic influenza A H1N1 2009 (pH1N1) was first recognised in humans with acute respiratory diseases in April 2009 in Mexico, in pigs in Canada in June 2009 with respiratory disease, and in turkeys in Chile in June 2009 with a severe drop in egg production.

Several experimental studies attempted to reproduce the disease in turkeys but failed to produce respiratory infection in turkeys using standard inoculation routes, they say.

However, the ARS group was able to demonstrate that pH1N1 virus can infect the reproductive tract of turkey hens after experimental intrauterine inoculation, causing decreased egg production. This route of exposure is realistic in modern turkey production because turkey hens are handled once a week for intrauterine insemination in order to produce fertile eggs.

Pantin-Jackwood and co-authors conclude that this understanding of disease exposure provides an improved understanding of the pathogenesis of the virus and can advance poultry husbandry to prevent disease outbreaks.


Pantin-Jackwood M., J.L. Wasilenko, E. Spackman, D.L. Suarez and D.E. Swayne. 2010. Susceptibility of turkeys to pandemic-H1N1 virus by reproductive tract insemination. Virology Journal, 2010, 7:27 doi:10.1186/1743-422X-7-27.

Further Reading

- You can view the provisional PDF version of the full report by clicking here.
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