Characterization of H5N2 influenza viruses from Italian poultry.
From October 1997 to January 1998, highly pathogenic H5N2 avian influenza viruses caused eight outbreaks of avian influenza in northern Italy. A nonpathogenic H5N9 influenza virus was also isolated during the outbreaks as a result of virological and epidemiological surveillance to control the spread of avian influenza to neighbouring regions. Antigenic analysis showed that the Italian H5N2 isolates were antigenically similar to, although distinguishable from, A/HK/156/97, a human influenza H5N1 virus isolated in Hong Kong in 1997. Phylogenetic analysis of the haemagglutinin (HA) genes showed that the highly pathogenic Italian viruses clustered with the Hong Kong strains, whereas the nonpathogenic H5N9 virus, despite its epidemiological association with the highly pathogenic Italian isolates, was most closely related to the highly pathogenic A/Turkey/England/91 (H5N1) strain. Like the HA phylogenetic tree, the nonstructural (NS) phylogenetic tree showed that the H5N2 Italian virus genes are clearly separate from those of the H5N9 strain. In contrast, results of the phylogenetic analysis of nucleoprotein (NP) genes indicated a closer genetic relationship between the two Italian virus groups, a finding suggesting a common progenitor. Comparison of the HA, NS and NP genes of the Italian H5 strains with those of the H5N1 viruses simultaneously circulating in Hong Kong revealed that the two groups of viruses do not share a recent common ancestor. No virological and serological evidence of bird-to-human transmission of the Italian H5N2 influenza viruses was found. (+info)
Comparison of the transmission characteristics of low and high pathogenicity avian influenza A virus (H5N2).
Low pathogenicity avian influenza A strains (LPAI) of the H5 and H7 type are noted for their ability to transform into highly pathogenic counterparts (HPAI). Here we compare the transmission characteristics in poultry of LPAI H5N2 (A/Chicken/Pennsylvania/83) and corresponding HPAI virus by means of transmission experiments. In the experiments, five inoculated animals are placed in a cage with five contact animals, and the infection chain is monitored by taking blood samples, and samples from the trachea and cloaca. The data are analysed by final size methods and a generalized linear model. The results show that HPAI virus is more infectious and induces a longer infectious period than LPAI. In fact, fully susceptible animals are invariably infected when confronted with HPAI virus and die within six days after infection. Animals previously infected with LPAI virus, on the other hand, survive an infection with HPAI virus or escape infection all together. This implies that a previous infection with LPAI virus effectively reduces susceptibility of the host to infection and decreases transmission of HPAI virus. We discuss the implications of these conclusions for the control and evolution of avian influenza viruses. (+info)
Effect of vaccine use in the evolution of Mexican lineage H5N2 avian influenza virus.
An outbreak of avian influenza (AI) caused by a low-pathogenic H5N2 type A influenza virus began in Mexico in 1993 and several highly pathogenic strains of the virus emerged in 1994-1995. The highly pathogenic virus has not been reported since 1996, but the low-pathogenic virus remains endemic in Mexico and has spread to two adjacent countries, Guatemala and El Salvador. Measures implemented to control the outbreak and eradicate the virus in Mexico have included a widespread vaccination program in effect since 1995. Because this is the first case of long-term use of AI vaccines in poultry, the Mexican lineage virus presented us with a unique opportunity to examine the evolution of type A influenza virus circulating in poultry populations where there was elevated herd immunity due to maternal and active immunity. We analyzed the coding sequence of the HA1 subunit and the NS gene of 52 Mexican lineage viruses that were isolated between 1993 and 2002. Phylogenetic analysis indicated the presence of multiple sublineages of Mexican lineage isolates at the time vaccine was introduced. Further, most of the viruses isolated after the introduction of vaccine belonged to sublineages separate from the vaccine's sublineage. Serologic analysis using hemagglutination inhibition and virus neutralization tests showed major antigenic differences among isolates belonging to the different sublineages. Vaccine protection studies further confirmed the in vitro serologic results indicating that commercial vaccine was not able to prevent virus shedding when chickens were challenged with antigenically different isolates. These findings indicate that multilineage antigenic drift, which has not been observed in AI virus, is occurring in the Mexican lineage AI viruses and the persistence of the virus in the field is likely aided by its large antigenic difference from the vaccine strain. (+info)
H5N2 avian influenza outbreak in Texas in 2004: the first highly pathogenic strain in the United States in 20 years?
In early 2004, an H5N2 avian influenza virus (AIV) that met the molecular criteria for classification as a highly pathogenic AIV was isolated from chickens in the state of Texas in the United States. However, clinical manifestations in the affected flock were consistent with avian influenza caused by a low-pathogenicity AIV and the representative virus (A/chicken/Texas/298313/04 [TX/04]) was not virulent for experimentally inoculated chickens. The hemagglutinin (HA) gene of the TX/04 isolate was similar in sequence to A/chicken/Texas/167280-4/02 (TX/02), a low-pathogenicity AIV isolate recovered from chickens in Texas in 2002. However, the TX/04 isolate had one additional basic amino acid at the HA cleavage site, which could be attributed to a single point mutation. The TX/04 isolate was similar in sequence to TX/02 isolate in several internal genes (NP, M, and NS), but some genes (PA, PB1, and PB2) had sequence of a clearly different origin. The TX/04 isolate also had a stalk deletion in the NA gene, characteristic of a chicken-adapted AIV. By analyzing viruses constructed by in vitro mutagenesis followed by reverse genetics, we found that the pathogenicity of the TX/04 virus could be increased in vitro and in vivo by the insertion of an additional basic amino acid at the HA cleavage site and not by the loss of a glycosylation site near the cleavage site. Our study provides the genetic and biologic characteristics of the TX/04 isolate, which highlight the complexity of the polygenic nature of the virulence of influenza viruses. (+info)
Mallards and highly pathogenic avian influenza ancestral viruses, northern Europe.
Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), which originate in poultry upon transmission of low pathogenic viruses from wild birds, have occurred relatively frequently in the last decade. During our ongoing surveillance studies in wild birds, we isolated several influenza A viruses of hemagglutinin subtype H5 and H7 that contain various neuraminidase subtypes. For each of the recorded H5 and H7 HPAI outbreaks in Europe since 1997, our collection contained closely related virus isolates recovered from wild birds, as determined by sequencing and phylogenetic analyses of the hemagglutinin gene and antigenic characterization of the hemagglutinin glycoprotein. The minor genetic and antigenic diversity between the viruses recovered from wild birds and those causing HPAI outbreaks indicates that influenza A virus surveillance studies in wild birds can help generate prototypic vaccine candidates and design and evaluate diagnostic tests, before outbreaks occur in animals and humans. (+info)
Large-scale sequence analysis of avian influenza isolates.
The spread of H5N1 avian influenza viruses (AIVs) from China to Europe has raised global concern about their potential to infect humans and cause a pandemic. In spite of their substantial threat to human health, remarkably little AIV whole-genome information is available. We report here a preliminary analysis of the first large-scale sequencing of AIVs, including 2196 AIV genes and 169 complete genomes. We combine this new information with public AIV data to identify new gene alleles, persistent genotypes, compensatory mutations, and a potential virulence determinant. (+info)
New laboratory assay for diagnostic testing of avian influenza A/H5 (Asian Lineage).
On February 3, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced clearance of the Influenza A/H5 (Asian Lineage) Virus Real-Time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Primer and Probe Set and inactivated virus as a source of positive RNA control for the in vitro qualitative detection of highly pathogenic influenza A/H5 virus (Asian lineage). Two genetic lineages of influenza A/H5 viruses exist: Eurasian (Asian) and North American. The primer and probe set, developed at CDC, is designed to detect highly pathogenic influenza A/H5 viruses from the Asian lineage associated with recent laboratory-confirmed infections of avian influenza in humans in east Asia and, most recently, in Turkey and Iraq. (+info)
Newcastle disease virus expressing H5 hemagglutinin gene protects chickens against Newcastle disease and avian influenza.
Newcastle disease virus (NDV)-expressing avian influenza virus (AIV) hemagglutinin (HA) of subtype H5 was constructed by reverse genetics. A cloned full-length copy of the genome of the lentogenic NDV strain Clone 30 was used for insertion of the ORF encoding the HA of the highly pathogenic AIV isolate A/chicken/Italy/8/98 (H5N2) in the intergenic region between the NDV fusion and hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN) genes. Remarkably, two species of HA transcripts were detected in cells infected with the resultant NDVH5. In a second recombinant (NDVH5m), a NDV transcription termination signal-like sequence located within the HA ORF was eliminated by silent mutations. Consequently, NDVH5m produced 2.7-fold more full-length HA transcripts, expressed higher levels of HA, and also incorporated more HA protein into its envelope than NDVH5. NDVH5m stably expressed the modified HA gene for 10 egg passages and both recombinants were found innocuous after intracerebral inoculation of 1-day-old chickens. Immunization of chickens with NDVH5m induced NDV- and AIVH5-specific antibodies and protected chickens against clinical disease after challenge with a lethal dose of velogenic NDV or highly pathogenic AIV, respectively. Remarkably, shedding of influenza virus was not observed. Furthermore, immunization with NDVH5m permitted serological discrimination of vaccinated and AIV field virus-infected animals based on antibodies against the nucleoprotein of AIV. Therefore, recombinant NDVH5m is suitable as a bivalent vaccine against NDV and AIV and may be used as marker vaccine for the control of avian influenza. (+info)