Ornithologic study skins are specimens of avian skins that have been preserved by drying after removing the viscera and muscle. Because of the high value of study skins for scientific studies, specimens are shared among researchers. There is concern that study skins might be contaminated with high-consequence diseases such as highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) or Newcastle disease virus (NDV). To mitigate risk, thermal or chemical treatment of study skins may be required before transfer; however, such treatments might damage the specimens. Therefore, a study was conducted to evaluate the duration of infectivity of HPAIV and NDV in study skins prepared from infected chickens (Gallus gallus). Study skins were prepared from 10 chickens infected with each virus. Skin and feather pulp samples were taken at the time of study skin preparation to establish starting titers. Mean starting titers in skins were 4.2 log10 and 5.1 log10 50% egg infectious doses (EID50) for HPAIV and NDV groups respectively, and were 6.7 log10 EID50 for HPAIV, and 6.4 log10 EID50 for NDV in feather pulp. Samples were collected at 2 and 4 wk of drying to quantify viable virus. At 2 wk, fewer samples had detectable virus and mean titers were 1.8 log10 (skin) and 2.1 log10 (feathers) EID50 for HPAIV, and 1.7 log10 (skin) and 3.5 log10 (feathers) EID50 for NDV. At 4 wk viable virus could not be detected in either tissue type.

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