Simulated Flock-Level Shedding Characteristics of Turkeys in Ten Thousand Bird Houses Infected with H7 Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza Virus Strains

Understanding the amount of virus shed at the flock level by birds infected with low pathogenicity avian influenza virus (LPAIV) over time can help inform the type and timing of activities performed in response to a confirmed LPAIV-positive premises. To this end, we developed a mathematical model which allows us to estimate viral shedding by 10,000 turkey toms raised in commercial turkey production in the United States, and infected by H7 LPAIV strains. We simulated the amount of virus shed orally and from the cloaca over time, as well as the amount of virus in manure. In addition, we simulated the threshold cycle value (Ct) of pooled oropharyngeal swabs from birds in the infected flock tested by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The simulation model predicted that little to no shedding would occur once the highest threshold of seroconversion was reached. Substantial amounts of virus in manure (median 1.5×108 and 5.8×109; 50% egg infectious dose) were predicted at the peak. Lastly, the model results suggested that higher Ct values, indicating less viral shedding, are more likely to be observed later in the infection process as the flock approaches recovery.