Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bird flu: Preening spreads viruses in nature

Date:
July 27, 2010
Source:
Università of Bologna
Summary:
Scientists discovered that the preen oil gland secretions, by which all aquatic birds make their feathers waterproof, support a natural mechanism that concentrates AIVs from water onto birds' bodies. Since waterbirds use to spread preen oil over their own (self-preening) or other birds' (allo-preening) plumage, it is easily understandable how these preening activities could facilitate the diffusion of the viruses in nature.

A female mallard preening. The preen oil gland secretions, by which all aquatic birds make their feathers waterproof, support a natural mechanism that concentrates AIVs from water onto birds' bodies.
Credit: iStockphoto

A team of scientists, led by Mauro Delogu, virologist from the Veterinary Faculty of the Bologna University and researchers from the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis, Tennessee) have discovered a new way of avian influenza transmission. The study, which offers new insights into ecology, surveillance and prevention strategies of avian influenza viruses (AIVs), may ultimately be important in the fight against influenza.

The study has been published in a recent issue of PLoS One.

The scientists actually discovered that the preen oil gland secretions, by which all aquatic birds make their feathers waterproof, support a natural mechanism that concentrates AIVs from water onto birds' bodies. They found that a progressive virus "sticking" on feathers occurs because AIV-contaminated waters interact with the preen oil gland secretion. Since waterbirds use to spread preen oil over their own (self-preening) or other birds' (allo-preening) plumage, it is easily understandable how these preening activities could facilitate the diffusion of the viruses in nature.

The discovery, adds Delogu, has also important implications in the surveillance of avian influenza viruses.

In fact, virus on feathers could escape detection by the current surveillance strategies which assay the virus secreted in the cloacal and tracheal samples only. Lack of detection of these viruses may greatly complicate surveillance and rapid responses to new virus emergence and spread. For this reason, Delogu said, in routine surveillance programs, additional sampling methods could be necessary to detect AIVs on birds' bodies. Our results also suggest that a preened body surface could be the common denominator that explains how AIV infection occurs in different taxonomic groups of aquatic birds and future studies are needed to determine the common uropygial component that could promote interaction with AIVs in all aquatic bird species. Studies to reproduce the preening-mediated AIV infection mechanism in the animal model are in progress.

Finally, Delogu concludes, our discovery really opens a door to explain the highly pathogenic H5N1 circulation and persistence in Eurasia, as well as the only recorded human case of fatal infection passed from wild birds in February 2006. All infected humans were involved in defeathering of dead wild swans after a massive die-off of these aquatic birds occurred in Azerbaijan.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Università of Bologna. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mauro Delogu, Maria A De Marco, Livia Di Trani, Elisabetta Raffini, Claudia Cotti, Simona Puzelli, Fabio Ostanello, Robert G Webster, Antonio Cassone, Isabella Donatelli. Can Preening Contribute to Influenza A Virus Infection in Wild Waterbirds? PLoS One, June 25, 2010 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011315

Cite This Page:

Università of Bologna. "Bird flu: Preening spreads viruses in nature." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625185416.htm>.
Università of Bologna. (2010, July 27). Bird flu: Preening spreads viruses in nature. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625185416.htm
Università of Bologna. "Bird flu: Preening spreads viruses in nature." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100625185416.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) — Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) — A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins