Thursday, March 19, 2015

EID Journal: Three Looks At The H5N8 Virus In Europe

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H5N8 Branching Out To Europe & Japan

 

 

# 9847

 

The EID Journal has posted four articles today on the H5N8 virus, three of which are closely related enough to deserve mention in the same blog post.   All three find the H5N8 virus detected in England, Germany, and The Netherlands to be closely related to the Asian/Korean strains.


Despite the reservations expressed by the UN CMS/FAO Co-Convened Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds and others over the spread of the virus via migratory birds, all three papers mention the strong possibilty that wild birds are behind its rapid geographic expansion.

 

 

Volume 21, Number 5—May 2015
Dispatch

Influenza A(H5N8) Virus Similar to Strain in Korea Causing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Germany

Timm HarderComments to Author , Sebastian Maurer-Stroh, Anne Pohlmann, Elke Starick, Detlef Höreth-Böntgen, Karin Albrecht, Gunter Pannwitz, Jens Teifke, Vithiagaran Gunalan, Raphael T.C. Lee, Carola Sauter-Louis, Timo Homeier, Christoph Staubach, Carola Wolf, Günter Strebelow, Dirk Höper, Christian Grund, Franz J. Conraths, Thomas C. Mettenleiter, and Martin Beer

 Abstract

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) virus, like the recently described H5N8 strain from Korea, was detected in November 2014 in farmed turkeys and in a healthy common teal (Anas crecca) in northeastern Germany. Infected wild birds possibly introduced this virus.

Conclusions

The HPAI outbreak in northeastern Germany in November 2014 resulted from an HPAI (H5N8) subtype virus, represented by isolate AR2472/14, which is closely related to H5N8 subtype viruses that have hitherto been confined to the Far East. Fourteen unique coding mutations of AR2472/14 show differences between this virus and previous isolates from South Korea, but the mutations are shared with the recent H5N8 isolate A/duck/Chiba/26-372-61/2014 from Japan. Epidemiologic and phylogenetic data collected so far are insufficient to establish definite pathways of introduction into Germany. All possible routes, including relay transmission by subclinically infected wild birds, must be thoroughly examined. Enhanced active monitoring of sites frequented by aquatic wild birds and waterfowl is also recommended.

 

 

Volume 21, Number 5—May 2015
Dispatch

Full-Genome Sequence of Influenza A(H5N8) Virus in Poultry Linked to Sequences of Strains from Asia, the Netherlands, 2014

Ruth BouwstraComments to Author , Rene Heutink, Alex Bossers, Frank Harders, Guus Koch, and Armin Elbers

Abstract

Genetic analyses of highly pathogenic avian influenza A(H5N8) virus from the Netherlands, and comparison with strains from Europe, South Korea, and Japan, showed a close relation. Data suggest the strains from Europe were probably carried to the Netherlands by migratory wild birds from Asia, possibly through overlapping flyways and common breeding sites in Siberia.

Conclusions

Genetic analysis of influenza A(H5N8) virus from the Netherlands indicates that the virus probably was spread by migratory wild birds from Asia, possibly through overlapping flyways and common breeding sites in Siberia. In addition to the outbreak in the Netherlands, several other outbreaks of HPAI (H5N8) virus infections were reported in Europe at the end of 2014 after exponentially increasing deaths occurred in chicken and turkey flocks. Genetic sequences submitted to the EpiFlu database indicated that the viruses from Europe showed a strong similarity to viruses isolated earlier in 2014 in South Korea, China, and Japan.

An H5N8 virus isolated from a wigeon in Russia in September 2014 is located in the phylogenetic tree near the node of all sequences for H5N8 viruses from Europe. In regard to time, this location fits the hypothesized route of H5N8 virus introduction into Europe. Furthermore, for several reasons, it is highly likely that the introduction of HPAI (H5N8) virus into the indoor-layer farm in the Netherlands occurred via indirect contact. First, despite intensive monitoring, H5N8 viruses have never been detected in commercial poultry or wild birds in the Netherlands. Second, when the virus was detected, the Netherlands had no direct trade contact with other European countries or Asia that might explain a route of introduction. Third, because of the severity of disease in galliforms, outbreaks of H5N8 in the Netherlands before November 2014 would have been noticed.

 

Volume 21, Number 5—May 2015
Dispatch

Genetic Characterization of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) Virus from Domestic Ducks, England, November 2014

Amanda HannaComments to Author , Jill Banks, Denise A. Marston, Richard J. Ellis, Sharon M. Brookes, and Ian H. Brown

Abstract

Genetic sequences of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) virus in England have high homology to those detected in mainland Europe and Asia during 2014. Genetic characterization suggests this virus is an avian-adapted virus without specific affinity for zoonoses. Spatio-temporal detections of H5N8 imply a role for wild birds in virus spread.

Conclusions

The genome of the H5N8 virus isolated in England suggests that it is still predominantly an avian-adapted virus, without any specific increased affinity for humans. Close genetic homology among the viral genes of the H5N8 viruses detected in England, the Netherlands, and Germany suggest they share a common ancestor with the recent H5N8 viruses isolated from wild ducks in Japan, a result of reassortment estimated to have occurred in June 2014. Reliable interpretation of the topology of the European and Japanese cluster cannot be made with these similar sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of sequences from more viruses will help to resolve these relationships. Detection of H5N8 (HPAI) viruses in 3 countries in Europe over a short time period in different poultry species without the establishment of clear epidemiologic links implicates a role for wild birds in spreading of viruses. The potential for further dissemination of HPAI (H5N8) viruses in Europe is a threat to poultry. Viral sequence analysis from new outbreaks is recommended to monitor virus evolution, understand risk pathways for introduction, and assess the emergence of mutations that may be relevant for veterinary and public health.

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