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Two genetically diverse H7N7 avian influenza viruses isolated from migratory birds in central China

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  • Two genetically diverse H7N7 avian influenza viruses isolated from migratory birds in central China

    Emerg Microbes Infect. 2018 Apr 11;7(1):62. doi: 10.1038/s41426-018-0064-7.
    Two genetically diverse H7N7 avian influenza viruses isolated from migratory birds in central China.

    Liu H1, Xiong C1, Chen J2, Chen G2, Zhang J2, Li Y2, Xiong Y2, Wang R1, Cao Y1, Chen Q1,3, Liu D1,3,4, Wang H1, Chen J5,6.
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    Abstract

    After the emergence of H7N9 avian influenza viruses (AIV) in early 2013 in China, active surveillance of AIVs in migratory birds was undertaken, and two H7N7 strains were subsequently recovered from the fresh droppings of migratory birds; the strains were from different hosts and sampling sites. Phylogenetic and sequence similarity network analyses indicated that several genes of the two H7N7 viruses were closely related to those in AIVs circulating in domestic poultry, although different gene segments were implicated in the two isolates. This strongly suggested that genes from viruses infecting migratory birds have been introduced into poultry-infecting strains. A Bayesian phylogenetic reconstruction of all eight segments implied that multiple reassortments have occurred in the evolution of these viruses, particularly during late 2011 and early 2014. Antigenic analysis using a hemagglutination inhibition test showed that the two H7N7 viruses were moderately cross-reactive with H7N9-specific anti-serum. The ability of the two H7N7 viruses to remain infectious under various pH and temperature conditions was evaluated, and the viruses persisted the longest at near-neutral pH and in cold temperatures. Animal infection experiments showed that the viruses were avirulent to mice and could not be recovered from any organs. Our results indicate that low pathogenic, divergent H7N7 viruses circulate within the East Asian-Australasian flyway. Virus dispersal between migratory birds and domestic poultry may increase the risk of the emergence of novel unprecedented strains.


    PMID: 29636458 DOI: 10.1038/s41426-018-0064-7

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