Genetic characterization of low pathogenic H5N1 and co-circulating avian influenza viruses in wild mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in Belgium, 2008.Avian Pathol. 2011 Dec; 40(6):613-28.AP
As part of a long-term wild bird monitoring programme, five different low pathogenic (LP) avian influenza viruses (AIVs) were isolated from wild mallards (subtypes H1N1, H4N6, H5N1, H5N3, and H10N7). A LP H5N1 and two co-circulating (same location, same time period) viruses were selected for full genome sequencing. An H1N1 (A/Anas platyrhynchos/Belgium/09-762/2008) and an H5N1 virus (A/Anas platyrhynchos/Belgium/09-762-P1/2008) were isolated on the same day in November 2008, then an H5N3 virus (A/Anas platyrhynchos/09-884/2008) 5 days later in December 2008. All genes of these co-circulating viruses shared common ancestors with recent (2001 to 2007) European wild waterfowl influenza viruses. The H5N1 virus shares genome segments with both the H1N1 (PB1, NA, M) and the H5N3 (PB2, HA) viruses, and all three viruses share the same NS sequence. A double infection with two different PA segments from H5N1 and from H5N3 could be observed for the H1N1 sample. The observed gene constellations resulted from multiple reassortment events between viruses circulating in wild birds in Eurasia. Several internal gene segments from these 2008 viruses and the N3 sequence from the H5N3 show homology with sequences from 2003 H7 outbreaks in Italy (LP) and the Netherlands (highly pathogenic). These data contribute to the growing sequence evidence of the dynamic nature of the avian influenza natural reservoir in Eurasia, and underline the importance of monitoring AIV in wild birds. Genetic information of potential hazard to commercial poultry continues to circulate in this reservoir, including H5 and H7 subtype viruses and genes related to previous AIV outbreaks.