Understanding virus shedding patterns of avian influenza virus (AIV) in poultry is important for understanding host-pathogen interactions and developing effective control strategies. Many AIV strains were studied in challenge experiments in poultry, but no study has combined data from those studies to identify general AIV shedding patterns. These systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to summarize qualitative and quantitative information on virus shedding levels and duration for different AIV strains in experimentally infected poultry species. Methods were designed based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Four electronic databases were used to collect literature. A total of 1155 abstract were screened, with 117 studies selected for the qualitative analysis and 71 studies for the meta-analysis. A large heterogeneity in experimental methods was observed and the quantitative analysis showed that experimental variables such as species, virus origin, age, inoculation route and dose, affect virus shedding (mean, peak and duration) for highly pathogenic AIV (HPAIV), low pathogenic AIV (LPAIV) or both. In conclusion, this study highlights the need to standardize experimental procedures, it provides a comprehensive summary of the shedding patterns of AIV strains by infected poultry and identifies the variables that influence the level and duration of AIV shedding.
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