Avian influenza susceptibility in Alligator mississippiensis
Temple, Bradley Lawrence
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Avian influenza has emerged as one the most ubiquitous viruses within our biosphere. It has been isolated from various species ranging from humans to mosquitoes. The emergence of H5N1and H1N1 has sparked worldwide interest in identifying and understanding which and how many species can be infected. Reptiles are an understudied class in regards to infectious diseases; however, recent research has begun to investigate the role these animals may contribute to viral ecology. Crocodilians have been around for approximately 240 million years and are regarded as the sister group to modern Aves. Therefore, crocodilians are a logical reptilian group to begin research with avian influenza isolates. A primary American alligator cell line along with alligator embryos were infected with four low-pathogenic avian influenza strains. This research has demonstrated the ability of wild-type avian influenza isolates to infect and replicate within a crocodilian system.