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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Nov;43(11):5760-7.

Human infection with an avian H9N2 influenza A virus in Hong Kong in 2003.

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Department of Microbiology, The University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Medicine Building, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China.


Avian H9N2 influenza A virus has caused repeated human infections in Asia since 1998. Here we report that an H9N2 influenza virus infected a 5-year-old child in Hong Kong in 2003. To identify the possible source of the infection, the human isolate and other H9N2 influenza viruses isolated from Hong Kong poultry markets from January to October 2003 were genetically and antigenically characterized. The findings of this study show that the human H9N2 influenza virus, A/Hong Kong/2108/03, is of purely avian origin and is closely related to some viruses circulating in poultry in the markets of Hong Kong. The continued presence of H9N2 influenza viruses in poultry markets in southern China increases the likelihood of avian-to-human interspecies transmission.

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