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Transbound Emerg Dis. 2018 Nov 30. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13087. [Epub ahead of print]

Phylogenetic variations of highly pathogenic H5N6 avian influenza viruses isolated from wild birds in the Izumi plain, Japan during the 2016/17 winter season.

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Laboratory of Animal Hygiene, Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Japan.
Transboundary Animal Diseases Research Center, Joint Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima, Kagoshima, Japan.
United Graduate School of Veterinary Science, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi, Japan.
Kagoshima Crane Conservation Committee, Izumi, Kagoshima, Japan.
Matsuoka Research Institute for Science, Koganei, Tokyo, Japan.


During the 2016/2017 winter season, we isolated 33 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) of H5N6 subtype and three low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIVs) from debilitated or dead wild birds, duck feces, and environmental water samples collected in the Izumi plain, an overwintering site for migratory birds in Japan. Genetic analyses of the H5N6 HPAIV isolates revealed previously unreported phylogenetic variations in the PB2, PB1, PA, and NS gene segments and allowed us to propose two novel genotypes for the contemporary H5N6 HPAIVs. In addition, analysis of the four gene segments identified close phylogenetic relationships between our three LPAIV isolates and the contemporary H5N6 HPAIV isolates. Our results implied the co-circulation and co-evolution of HPAIVs and LPAIVs within the same wild bird populations, thereby highlighting the importance of avian influenza surveillance targeting not only for HPAIVs, but also for LPAIVs. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.


H5N6 subtype; highly pathogenic avian influenza virus; phylogenetic variations


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