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Infect Genet Evol. 2019 Nov 1:104056. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2019.104056. [Epub ahead of print]

A novel reassortant clade 2.3.4.4 highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N6 virus identified in South Korea in 2018.

Author information

1
Avian Influenza Research & Diagnostic Division, Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, 177 Hyeoksin 8-ro, Gimcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 39660, Republic of Korea.
2
Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, The University of Connecticut, 61 North Eagleville Road, Unit-3089, Storrs, CT 06269, United States.
3
Avian Influenza Research & Diagnostic Division, Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, 177 Hyeoksin 8-ro, Gimcheon-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do 39660, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: leeyj700@korea.kr.

Abstract

Since 2017, clade 2.3.4.4b H5N6 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIVs) have been detected over a broad geographic region, including Eurasia. These viruses have evolved through reassortment with Eurasian low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (LPAIVs), resulting in multiple genotypes. Here, we sequenced the full-length genome of 15 H5N6 HPAIVs collected from wild birds and poultry farms in South Korea from January to March 2018. A comparative phylogenetic analysis was then conducted. Three distinct genotypes were identified in South Korea during 2017/2018, including a novel reassortant genotype, H214. The novel reassortant H5N6 viruses isolated in this study possessed PB2, PA, and NP gene segments of Eurasian LPAIV on a genetic backbone of the H35-like genotype, which was identified in Korea and the Netherlands during 2017. Bayesian molecular clock analysis suggested that the novel reassortant viruses were generated most likely during the fall migration/wintering season of migratory waterfowl in 2017. Considering the continued emergence and spread of clade 2.3.4.4 HPAIV, enhanced surveillance of wild waterfowl is needed for early detection of HPAIV incursions.

KEYWORDS:

2.3.4.4b H5N6; HPAIV; Novel genotype; Novel reassortant; Phylogenetic analysis; tMRCA

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