Characterization of a highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus isolated from an ostrich.Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Jun 11; 396(4):973-7.BB
The continued spread of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus among poultry and wild birds has posed a potential threat to human public health. An influenza pandemic happens, when a new subtype that has not previously circulated in humans emerges. Almost all of the influenza pandemics in history have originated from avian influenza viruses (AIV). Birds are significant reservoirs of influenza viruses. In the present study, we performed a survey of avian influenza virus in ostriches and H5N1 virus (A/Ostrich/SuZhou/097/03, China097) was isolated. This H5N1 virus is highly pathogenic to both chickens and mice. It is also able to replicate in the lungs of, and to cause death in, BALB/c mice following intranasal administration. It forms plaques in chicken embryo fibroblast (CEF) cells in the absence of trypsin. The hemagglutinin (HA) gene of the virus is genetically similar to A/Goose/Guangdong/1/96(H5N1) and belongs to clade 0. The HA sequence contains multiple basic amino acids adjacent to the cleavage site, a motif associated with HPAI viruses. More importantly, the existence of H5N1 isolates in ostriches highlights the potential threat of wild bird infections to veterinary and public health.