Summary Artificial insemination is a routine practice for turkeys that can introduce pathogens into breeder flocks in a variety of ways. In this manuscript, a risk analysis on the potential transmission of HPAI to naïve hens through artificial insemination is presented. A case of HPAI on a stud farm the potential transmission of the virus to susceptible hens in the 2015 H5N2 HPAI outbreak in Minnesota is described along with documentation of known and potential transmission pathways from the case. The pathways by which artificial insemination might result in the spread of HPAI to susceptible hens were determined by considering which could result in: 1) the entry of HPAI virus onto a premises through semen movement; and 2) the exposure of susceptible hens to HPAI as a result of this movement. The detection of HPAI virus in semen from infected toms was demonstrated however, because the infectious dose of IAV delivered in utero needed to transmit HPAI to naïve hens is unknown, it is clear that detection of infection cannot be the only containment strategy. Early detection of infection might limit but not eliminate the risk of hen exposure. Because of the numerous potential pathways of spread and the close contact with the birds, it is highly likely that if semen from an HPAI infected tom flock is used, there will be spread of the virus to naïve hens through insemination. If insemination occurs with semen from stud farms in an HPAI control area, receiving hen farms should have restricted movements to prevent outbreak spread in the event that they become infected.
The risk of highly pathogenic influenza A virus transmission to turkey hen flocks through artificial insemination
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Carol J Cardona, Ben Wileman, Sasidhar Malladi, Rachael Ceballos, Marie Culhane, Jeannette Munoz-Aguayo, Cristian Flores Figueroa, David Halvorson, Emily Walz, Kaitlyn St. Charles, Peter Bonney, Amos Ssematimba, Timothy Goldsmith; The risk of highly pathogenic influenza A virus transmission to turkey hen flocks through artificial insemination. Avian Dis 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1637/aviandiseases-D-20-00132
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