1887

Abstract

Although the quest to clarify the role of wild birds in the spread of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus (AIV) has yielded considerable data on AIVs in wild birds worldwide, information regarding the ecology and epidemiology of AIVs in African wild birds is still very limited. During AIV surveillance in Zambia (2008–2009), 12 viruses of distinct subtypes (H3N8, H4N6, H6N2, H9N1 and H11N9) were isolated from wild waterfowl. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that all the isolates were of the Eurasian lineage. Whilst some genes were closely related to those of AIVs isolated from wild and domestic birds in South Africa, intimating possible AIV exchange between wild birds and poultry in southern Africa, some gene segments were closely related to those of AIVs isolated in Europe and Asia, thus confirming the inter-regional AIV gene flow among these continents. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences of internal proteins revealed that several isolates harboured particular residues predominantly observed in human influenza viruses. Interestingly, the isolates with human-associated residues exhibited higher levels of virus replication in the lungs of infected mice and caused more morbidity as measured by weight loss than an isolate lacking such residues. This study stresses the need for continued monitoring of AIVs in wild and domestic birds in southern Africa to gain a better understanding of the emergence of strains with the potential to infect mammals.

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2011-06-01
2019-10-14
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vol. , part 6, pp. 1416 - 1427

Phylogenetic relationships of the H3 HA (a), H4 HA (b) and H11 HA (c) genes of AIVs isolated from wild birds in Zambia

Phylogenetic relationships of the N1 NA (a), N6 NA (b) and N9 NA (c) genes of AIVs isolated from wild birds in Zambia [Single PDF file](84 KB)



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