Isolation of H5N6, H7N9 and H9N2 avian influenza A viruses from air sampled at live poultry markets in China, 2014 and 2015.
ABSTRACT: Zoonotic infections by avian influenza viruses occur at the human-poultry interface, but the modes of transmission have not been fully investigated. We assessed the potential for airborne and fomite transmission at live poultry markets in Guangzhou city and in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), China, during 2014 and 2015. Viral genome and infectious avian influenza A viruses of H5N6, H7N9, and H9N2 subtypes were detected predominantly from particles larger or equal to 1 ?m in diameter in the air sampled with cyclone-based bioaerosol samplers at the live poultry markets in Guangzhou. Influenza A(H9N2) viruses were ubiquitously isolated every month during the study period from air and environmental swabs, and different lineages of H9N2 virus were isolated from markets where chickens and minor land-based poultry were sold. The use of de-feathering devices increased the quantity of virus-laden airborne particles while market closure reduced the amount of such particles. The results highlight the possibility of airborne transmission of avian influenza viruses among poultry or from poultry to humans within such settings. This may explain epidemiological observations in which some patients with H7N9 infection reported being in markets but no direct contact with live poultry or poultry stalls.
Project description:Avian influenza virus A of the novel H7N9 reassortant subtype was recently found to cause severe human respiratory infections in China. Live poultry markets were suspected locations of the human H7N9 infection sources, based on the cases' exposure histories and sequence similarities between viral isolates. To explore the role of live poultry markets in the origin of the novel H7N9 virus, we systematically examined poultry and environmental specimens from local markets and farms in Hangzhou, using real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) as well as high-throughput next-generation sequencing (NGS). RT-PCR identified specimens positive for the H7 and N9 genomic segments in all of the 12 poultry markets epidemiologically linked to 10 human H7N9 cases. Chickens, ducks, and environmental specimens from the markets contained heavily mixed subtypes, including H7, N9, H9, and N2 and sometimes H5 and N1. The idea of the coexistence of H7N9 and H9N2 subtypes in chickens was further supported by metagenomic sequencing. In contrast, human H7N9 infection cases (n = 31) were all negative for H9N2 virus according to real-time RT-PCR. The six internal segments were indistinguishable for the H7N9 and H9N2 viruses. The H9, N2, and internal-segment sequences were very close to the sequence of the H9N2 virus circulating in chickens in China recently. Our results provide direct evidence that H9N2 strains coexisted with the novel human-pathogenic H7N9 influenza virus in epidemiologically linked live poultry markets. Avian influenza A virus of the H9N2 subtype likely made a recent contribution to the evolution of the H7N9 virus and continues to do so.Our results suggest that avian influenza A virus of the H9N2 subtype likely made a recent contribution to the evolution of the H7N9 virus, a novel reassortant avian influenza virus A subtype, and continues to do so. The finding helps shed light on how the H7N9 virus emerged, spread, and transmitted to humans. It is of considerable interest for assessing the risk of the possible emergence of novel reassortant viruses with enhanced transmissibility to humans.
Project description:The genotypes of the H9N2 avian influenza viruses have changed since 2013 when almost all H9N2 viruses circulating in chickens in China were genotype 57 (G57) with the fittest lineage of each gene. To characterize the H9N2 variant viruses from 2011 to 2014, 28 H9N2 influenza viruses were isolated from live poultry markets in China from 2011-2014 and were analyzed by genetic and biological characterization. Our findings showed that 16 residues that changed antigenicity, two potential N-linked glycosylation sites, and one amino acid in the receptor binding site of the HA protein changed significantly from 2011-2014. Moreover, the HA and NA genes in the phylogenetic tree were mainly clustered into two independent branches, A and B, based on the year of isolation. H9N2 virus internal genes were related to those from the human-infected avian influenza viruses H5N1, H7N9, and H10N8. In particular, the NS gene in the phylogenetic tree revealed genetic divergence of the virus gene into three branches labeled A, B, and C, which were related to the H9N2, H10N8, and H7N9 viruses, respectively. Additionally, the isolates also showed varying levels of infection and airborne transmission. These results indicated that the H9N2 virus had undergone an adaptive evolution and variation from 2011-2014.
Project description:The H9N2 influenza viruses that have become established in Bangladeshi live poultry markets possess five gene segments of the highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza virus. We assessed the replication, transmission, and disease potential of three H9N2 viruses in chickens and New World quail. Each virus replicated to high titers and transmitted by the airborne route to contacts in both species. Infected chickens showed no disease signs, and the viruses differed in their disease potential in New World quail. New World quail were more susceptible than chickens to H9N2 viruses and shed virus after airborne transmission for 10 days. Consequently, New World quail are a potential threat in the maintenance and spread of influenza virus in live poultry markets.
Project description:Influenza virus surveillance, poultry outbreak investigations and genomic sequencing were assessed to understand the ecology and evolution of low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) A viruses in Bangladesh from 2007 to 2013. We analyzed 506 avian specimens collected from poultry in live bird markets and backyard flocks to identify influenza A viruses. Virus isolation-positive specimens (n = 50) were subtyped and their coding-complete genomes were sequenced. The most frequently identified subtypes among LPAI isolates were H9N2, H11N3, H4N6, and H1N1. Less frequently detected subtypes included H1N3, H2N4, H3N2, H3N6, H3N8, H4N2, H5N2, H6N1, H6N7, and H7N9. Gene sequences were compared to publicly available sequences using phylogenetic inference approaches. Among the 14 subtypes identified, the majority of viral gene segments were most closely related to poultry or wild bird viruses commonly found in Southeast Asia, Europe, and/or northern Africa. LPAI subtypes were distributed over several geographic locations in Bangladesh, and surface and internal protein gene segments clustered phylogenetically with a diverse number of viral subtypes suggesting extensive reassortment among these LPAI viruses. H9N2 subtype viruses differed from other LPAI subtypes because genes from these viruses consistently clustered together, indicating this subtype is enzootic in Bangladesh. The H9N2 strains identified in Bangladesh were phylogenetically and antigenically related to previous human-derived H9N2 viruses detected in Bangladesh representing a potential source for human infection. In contrast, the circulating LPAI H5N2 and H7N9 viruses were both phylogenetically and antigenically unrelated to H5 viruses identified previously in humans in Bangladesh and H7N9 strains isolated from humans in China. In Bangladesh, domestic poultry sold in live bird markets carried a wide range of LPAI virus subtypes and a high diversity of genotypes. These findings, combined with the seven year timeframe of sampling, indicate a continuous circulation of these viruses in the country.
Project description:Live poultry markets are a source of human infection with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus. On February 21, 2014, a poultry farmer infected with H7N9 virus was identified in Jilin, China, and H7N9 and H9N2 viruses were isolated from the patient's farm. Reassortment between these subtype viruses generated five genotypes, one of which caused the human infection. The date of H7N9 virus introduction to the farm is estimated to be between August 21, 2013 (95% confidence interval [CI] June 6, 2013-October 6, 2013) and September 25, 2013 (95% CI May 28, 2013-January 4, 2014), suggesting that the most likely source of virus introduction was the first batch of poultry purchased in August 2013. The reassortment event that led to the human virus may have occurred between January 2, 2014 (95% CI November 8, 2013-February 12, 2014) and February 12, 2014 (95% CI January 19, 2014-February 18, 2014). Our findings demonstrate that poultry farms could be a source of reassortment between H7N9 virus and H9N2 virus as well as human infection, which emphasizes the importance to public health of active avian influenza surveillance at poultry farms.
Project description:H9N2 avian influenza virus has been prevalent in poultry in many parts of the world since the 1990s and occasionally crosses the host barrier, transmitting to mammals, including humans. In recent years, these viruses have contributed genes to H5N1 and H7N9 influenza viruses, threatening public health. To explore the molecular mechanism for the airborne transmission of H9N2 virus, we compared two genetically close strains isolated from chickens in 2001, A/chicken/Shanghai/7/2001(SH7) and A/chicken/Shanghai/14/2001 (SH14). SH7 is airborne transmissible between chickens, whereas SH14 is not. We used reverse genetics and gene swapping to derive recombinant SH7 (rSH7), rSH14, and a panel of reassortant viruses. Among the reassortant viruses, we identified segments HA and PA as governing the airborne transmission among chickens. In addition, the NP and NS genes also contributed to a lesser extent. Furthermore, the mutational analyses showed the transmissibility phenotype predominantly mapped to the HA and PA genes, with HA-K363 and PA-L672 being important for airborne transmissibility among chickens. In addition, the viral infectivity and acid stability are related to the airborne transmissibility. Importantly, airborne transmission studies of 18 arbitrarily chosen H9N2 viruses from our collections confirmed the importance of both 363K in HA and 672L in PA in determining their levels of transmissibility. Our finding elucidates the genetic contributions to H9N2 transmissibility in chickens and highlights the importance of their prevalence in poultry.Our study investigates the airborne transmissibility of H9N2 viruses in chickens and the subsequent epidemic. H9N2 virus is the donor for several prevalent reassortant influenza viruses, such as H7N9/2013 and the H5N1 viruses. Poultry as the reservoir hosts of influenza virus is closely associated with human society. Airborne transmission is an efficient pathway for influenza virus transmission among flocks and individuals. Exploring the mechanism of the airborne transmission of the H9N2 virus in chickens could provide essential data regarding prevention and control of influenza endemics and pandemics.
Project description:Infection with either influenza A H5N1 virus in 1997 or avian influenza A H7N9 virus in 2013 caused severe pneumonia that did not respond to typical or atypical antimicrobial treatment, and resulted in high mortality. Both viruses are reassortants with internal genes derived from avian influenza A H9N2 viruses that circulate in Asian poultry. Both viruses have genetic markers of mammalian adaptation in their haemagglutinin and polymerase PB2 subunits, which enhanced binding to human-type receptors and improved replication in mammals, respectively. Hong Kong (affected by H5N1 in 1997) and Shanghai (affected by H7N9 in 2013) are two rapidly flourishing cosmopolitan megacities that were increasing in human population and poultry consumption before the outbreaks. Both cities are located along the avian migratory route at the Pearl River delta and Yangtze River delta. Whether the widespread use of the H5N1 vaccine in east Asia-with suboptimum biosecurity measures in live poultry markets and farms-predisposed to the emergence of H7N9 or other virus subtypes needs further investigation. Why H7N9 seems to be more readily transmitted from poultry to people than H5N1 is still unclear.
Project description:Over the course of two waves of infection, H7N9 avian influenza A virus has caused 436 human infections and claimed 170 lives in China as of July 2014. To investigate the prevalence and genetic diversity of H7N9, we surveyed avian influenza viruses in poultry in Jiangsu province within the outbreak epicenter. We found frequent occurrence of H7N9/H9N2 coinfection in chickens. Molecular clock phylogenetic analysis confirms coinfection by H7N9/H9N2 viruses and also reveals that the identity of the H7N9 outbreak lineage is confounded by ongoing reassortment between outbreak viruses and diverse H9N2 viruses in domestic birds. Experimental inoculation of a coinfected sample in cell culture yielded two reassortant H7N9 strains with polymerase segments from the original H9N2 strain. Ongoing reassortment between the H7N9 outbreak lineage and diverse H9N2 viruses may generate new strains with the potential to infect humans, highlighting the need for continued viral surveillance in poultry and humans.We found frequent occurrence of H7N9/H9N2 coinfection in chickens. The H7N9 outbreak lineage is confounded by ongoing reassortment between H7N9 and H9N2 viruses. The importance of H9N2 viruses as the source of novel avian influenza virus infections in humans requires continuous attention.
Project description:Wild waterfowl form the main reservoir of influenza A viruses, from which transmission occurs directly or indirectly to various secondary hosts, including humans. Direct avian-to-human transmission has been observed for viruses of subtypes A(H5N1), A(H7N2), A(H7N3), A(H7N7), A(H9N2) and A(H10N7) upon human exposure to poultry, but a lack of sustained human-to-human transmission has prevented these viruses from causing new pandemics. Recently, avian A(H7N9) viruses were transmitted to humans, causing severe respiratory disease and deaths in China. Because transmission via respiratory droplets and aerosols (hereafter referred to as airborne transmission) is the main route for efficient transmission between humans, it is important to gain an insight into airborne transmission of the A(H7N9) virus. Here we show that although the A/Anhui/1/2013 A(H7N9) virus harbours determinants associated with human adaptation and transmissibility between mammals, its airborne transmissibility in ferrets is limited, and it is intermediate between that of typical human and avian influenza viruses. Multiple A(H7N9) virus genetic variants were transmitted. Upon ferret passage, variants with higher avian receptor binding, higher pH of fusion, and lower thermostability were selected, potentially resulting in reduced transmissibility. This A(H7N9) virus outbreak highlights the need for increased understanding of the determinants of efficient airborne transmission of avian influenza viruses between mammals.
Project description:Since the first H7N9 human case in Shanghai, February 19, 2013, the emerging avian-origin H7N9 influenza A virus has become an epizootic virus in China, posing a potential pandemic threat to public health. From April 2 to April 28, 2013, some 422 oral-pharyngeal and cloacal swabs were collected from birds and environmental surfaces at five live poultry markets (LPMs) and 13 backyard poultry farms (BPFs) across three cities, Wuxi, Suzhou, and Nanjing, in the Yangtze Delta region. In total 22 isolates were recovered, and six were subtyped as H7N9, nine as H9N2, four as H7N9/H9N2, and three unsubtyped influenza A viruses. Genomic sequences showed that the HA and NA genes of the H7N9 viruses were similar to those of the H7N9 human isolates, as well as other avian-origin H7N9 isolates in the region, but the PB1, PA, NP, and MP genes of the sequenced viruses were more diverse. Among the four H7N9/H9N2 mixed infections, three were from LPM, whereas the other one was from the ducks at one BPF, which were H7N9 negative in serologic analyses. A survey of the bird trading records of the LPMs and BPFs indicates that trading was a likely route for virus transmission across these regions. Our results suggested that better biosecurity and more effective vaccination should be implemented in backyard farms, in addition to biosecurity management in LPMs.