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 April 17, 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 April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) — Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

Raw: Three Rare White Tiger Cubs Debut at Zoo

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — The Buenos Aires Zoo debuted a trio of rare white Bengal tiger cubs on Wednesday. (April 16) Video provided by AP
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