Multiple Gene Segments Are Associated with Enhanced Virulence of Clade 18.104.22.168 H5N8 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus in Mallards.
ABSTRACT: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses from the H5Nx Goose/Guangdong/96 lineage continue to cause outbreaks in domestic and wild bird populations. Two distinct genetic groups of H5N8 HPAI viruses, hemagglutinin (HA) clades 22.214.171.124A and 126.96.36.199B, caused intercontinental outbreaks in 2014 to 2015 and 2016 to 2017, respectively. Experimental infections using viruses from these outbreaks demonstrated a marked difference in virulence in mallards, with the H5N8 virus from 2014 causing mild clinical disease and the 2016 H5N8 virus causing high mortality. To assess which gene segments are associated with enhanced virulence of H5N8 HPAI viruses in mallards, we generated reassortant viruses with 2014 and 2016 viruses. For single-segment reassortants in the genetic backbone of the 2016 virus, pathogenesis experiments in mallards revealed that morbidity and mortality were reduced for all eight single-segment reassortants compared to the parental 2016 virus, with significant reductions in mortality observed with the polymerase basic protein 2 (PB2), nucleoprotein (NP), and matrix (M) reassortants. No differences in morbidity and mortality were observed with reassortants that either have the polymerase complex segments or the HA and neuraminidase (NA) segments of the 2016 virus in the genetic backbone of the 2014 virus. In vitro assays showed that the NP and polymerase acidic (PA) segments of the 2014 virus lowered polymerase activity when combined with the polymerase complex segments of the 2016 virus. Furthermore, the M segment of the 2016 H5N8 virus was linked to filamentous virion morphology. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that gene segments related to the more virulent 2016 H5N8 virus have persisted in the contemporary H5Nx HPAI gene pool until 2020. IMPORTANCE Outbreaks of H5Nx HPAI viruses from the goose/Guangdong/96 lineage continue to occur in many countries and have resulted in substantial impact on wild birds and poultry. Epidemiological evidence has shown that wild waterfowl play a major role in the spread of these viruses. While HPAI virus infection in gallinaceous species causes high mortality, a wide range of disease outcomes has been observed in waterfowl species. In this study, we examined which gene segments contribute to severe disease in mallards infected with H5N8 HPAI viruses. No virus gene was solely responsible for attenuating the high virulence of a 2016 H5N8 virus, but the PB2, NP, and M segments significantly reduced mortality. The findings herein advance our knowledge on the pathobiology of avian influenza viruses in waterfowl and have potential implications on the ecology and epidemiology of H5Nx HPAI in wild bird populations.
Project description:Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N6) and A(H5N8) virus infections resulted in the culling of more than 37 million poultry in the Republic of Korea during the 2016/17 winter season. Here we characterize two representative viruses, A/Environment/Korea/W541/2016 [Em/W541(H5N6)] and A/Common Teal/Korea/W555/2017 [CT/W555(H5N8)], and evaluate their zoonotic potential in various animal models. Both Em/W541(H5N6) and CT /W555(H5N8) are novel reassortants derived from various gene pools of wild bird viruses present in migratory waterfowl arising from eastern China. Despite strong preferential binding to avian virus-type receptors, the viruses were able to grow in human respiratory tract tissues. Em/W541(H5N6) was found to be highly pathogenic in both chickens and ducks, while CT/W555(H5N8) caused lethal infections in chickens but did not induce remarkable clinical illness in ducks. In mice, both viruses appeared to be moderately pathogenic and displayed limited tissue tropism relative to HPAI H5N1 viruses. Em/W541(H5N6) replicated to moderate levels in the upper respiratory tract of ferrets and was detected in the lungs, brain, spleen, liver, and colon. Unexpectedly, two of three ferrets in direct contact with Em/W541(H5N6)-infected animals shed virus and seroconverted at 14 dpi. CT/W555(H5N8) was less pathogenic than the H5N6 virus in ferrets and no transmission was detected. Given the co-circulation of different, phenotypically distinct, subtypes of HPAI H5Nx viruses for the first time in South Korea, detailed virologic investigations are imperative given the capacity of these viruses to evolve and cause human infections.
Project description:Wild aquatic birds have been associated with the intercontinental spread of H5 subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses of the A/goose/Guangdong/1/96 (Gs/GD) lineage during 2005, 2010, and 2014, but dispersion by wild waterfowl has not been implicated with spread of other HPAI viruses. To better understand why Gs/GD H5 HPAI viruses infect and transmit more efficiently in waterfowl than other HPAI viruses, groups of mallard ducks were challenged with one of 14 different H5 and H7 HPAI viruses, including a Gs/GD lineage H5N1 (clade 2.2) virus from Mongolia, part of the 2005 dispersion, and the H5N8 and H5N2 index HPAI viruses (clade 188.8.131.52) from the United States, part of the 2014 dispersion. All virus-inoculated ducks and contact exposed ducks became infected and shed moderate to high titers of the viruses, with the exception that mallards were resistant to Ck/Pennsylvania/83 and Ck/Queretaro/95 H5N2 HPAI virus infection. Clinical signs were only observed in ducks challenged with the H5N1 2005 virus, which all died, and with the H5N8 and H5N2 2014 viruses, which had decreased weight gain and fever. These three viruses were also shed in higher titers by the ducks, which could facilitate virus transmission and spread. This study highlights the possible role of wild waterfowl in the spread of HPAI viruses. IMPORTANCE:The spread of H5 subtype highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses of the Gs/GD lineage by migratory waterfowl is a serious concern for animal and public health. H5 and H7 HPAI viruses are considered to be adapted to gallinaceous species (chickens, turkeys, quail, etc.) and less likely to infect and transmit in wild ducks. In order to understand why this is different with certain Gs/GD lineage H5 HPAI viruses, we compared the pathogenicity and transmission of several H5 and H7 HPAI viruses from previous poultry outbreaks to Gs/GD lineage H5 viruses, including H5N1 (clade 2.2), H5N8 and H5N2 (clade 184.108.40.206) viruses, in mallards as a representative wild duck species. Surprisingly, most HPAI viruses examined in this study replicated well and transmitted among mallards; however, the three Gs/GD lineage H5 HPAI viruses replicated to higher titers, which could explain the transmission of these viruses in susceptible wild duck populations.
Project description:In late November 2014 higher than normal death losses in a meat turkey and chicken broiler breeder farm in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia initiated a diagnostic investigation that led to the discovery of a novel reassortant highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N2 virus. This virus, composed of 5 gene segments (PB2, PA, HA, M and NS) related to Eurasian HPAI H5N8 and the remaining gene segments (PB1, NP and NA) related to North American lineage waterfowl viruses, represents the first HPAI outbreak in North American poultry due to a virus with Eurasian lineage genes. Since its first appearance in Korea in January 2014, HPAI H5N8 spread to Western Europe in November 2014. These European outbreaks happened to temporally coincide with migratory waterfowl movements. The fact that the British Columbia outbreaks also occurred at a time associated with increased migratory waterfowl activity along with reports by the USA of a wholly Eurasian H5N8 virus detected in wild birds in Washington State, strongly suggest that migratory waterfowl were responsible for bringing Eurasian H5N8 to North America where it subsequently reassorted with indigenous viruses.
Project description:Highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) viruses were detected in waterfowl at 2 zoos in India in October 2016. Both viruses were different 7:1 reassortants of H5N8 viruses isolated in May 2016 from wild birds in the Russian Federation and China, suggesting virus spread during southward winter migration of birds.
Project description:The outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5Nx viruses in winter 2016/2017 was the most severe HPAI epizootic ever reported in Germany. The H5N8 and H5N5 viruses detected in birds in Germany in 2016/2017 represent a reassortant swarm of at least five distinct genotypes, which carried closely related HA segments derived from clade 220.127.116.11b. The genotypes of these viruses and their spatio-temporal distribution indicated a unique situation with multiple independent entries of HPAIV into Germany.
Project description:Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus subtype H7N3 have been occurring in commercial chickens in Mexico since its first introduction in 2012. In order to determine changes in virus pathogenicity and adaptation in avian species, three H7N3 HPAI viruses from 2012, 2015, and 2016 were evaluated in chickens and mallards. All three viruses caused high mortality in chickens when given at medium to high doses and replicated similarly. No mortality or clinical signs and similar infectivity were observed in mallards inoculated with the 2012 and 2016 viruses. However, the 2012 H7N3 HPAI virus replicated well in mallards and transmitted to contacts, whereas the 2016 virus replicated poorly and did not transmit to contacts, which indicates that the 2016 virus is less adapted to mallards. In vitro, the 2016 virus grew slower and to lower titers than did the 2012 virus in duck fibroblast cells. Full-genome sequencing showed 115 amino acid differences between the 2012 and the 2016 viruses, with some of these changes previously associated with changes in replication in avian species, including hemagglutinin (HA) A125T, nucleoprotein (NP) M105V, and NP S377N. In conclusion, as the Mexican H7N3 HPAI virus has passaged through large populations of chickens in a span of several years and has retained its high pathogenicity for chickens, it has decreased in fitness in mallards, which could limit the potential spread of this HPAI virus by waterfowl.IMPORTANCE Not much is known about changes in host adaptation of avian influenza (AI) viruses in birds after long-term circulation in chickens or other terrestrial poultry. Although the origin of AI viruses affecting poultry is wild aquatic birds, the role of these birds in further dispersal of poultry-adapted AI viruses is not clear. Previously, we showed that HPAI viruses isolated early from poultry outbreaks could still infect and transmit well in mallards. In this study, we demonstrate that the Mexican H7N3 HPAI virus after four years of circulation in chickens replicates poorly and does not transmit in mallards but remains highly pathogenic in chickens. This information on changes in host adaptation is important for understanding the epidemiology of AI viruses and the role that wild waterfowl may play in disseminating viruses adapted to terrestrial poultry.
Project description:A novel highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 virus, first detected in January 2014 in poultry and wild birds in South Korea, has spread throughout Asia and Europe and caused outbreaks in Canada and the United States by the end of the year. The spread of H5N8 and the novel reassortant viruses, H5N2 and H5N1 (H5Nx), in domestic poultry across multiple states in the United States pose a potential public health risk. To evaluate the potential of cross-species infection, we determined the pathogenicity and transmissibility of two Asian-origin H5Nx viruses in mammalian animal models. The newly isolated H5N2 and H5N8 viruses were able to cause severe disease in mice only at high doses. Both viruses replicated efficiently in the upper and lower respiratory tracts of ferrets; however, the clinical symptoms were generally mild, and there was no evidence of systemic dissemination of virus to multiple organs. Moreover, these influenza H5Nx viruses lacked the ability to transmit between ferrets in a direct contact setting. We further assessed viral replication kinetics of the novel H5Nx viruses in a human bronchial epithelium cell line, Calu-3. Both H5Nx viruses replicated to a level comparable to a human seasonal H1N1 virus, but significantly lower than a virulent Asian-lineage H5N1 HPAI virus. Although the recently isolated H5N2 and H5N8 viruses displayed moderate pathogenicity in mammalian models, their ability to rapidly spread among avian species, reassort, and generate novel strains underscores the need for continued risk assessment in mammals.In 2015, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 viruses have caused outbreaks in domestic poultry in multiple U.S. states. The economic losses incurred with H5N8 and H5N2 subtype virus infection have raised serious concerns for the poultry industry and the general public due to the potential risk of human infection. This recent outbreak underscores the need to better understand the pathogenesis and transmission of these viruses in mammals, which is an essential component of pandemic risk assessment. This study demonstrates that the newly isolated H5N2 and H5N8 viruses lacked the ability to transmit between ferrets and exhibited low to moderate virulence in mammals. In human bronchial epithelial (Calu-3) cells, both H5N8 and H5N2 viruses replicated to a level comparable to a human seasonal virus, but significantly lower than a virulent Asian-lineage H5N1 (A/Thailand/16/2004) virus. The results of this study are important for the evaluation of public health risk.
Project description:Emergence and intercontinental spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza A (HPAI) H5Nx virus clade 18.104.22.168 has resulted in substantial economic losses to the poultry industry in Asia, Europe, and North America. The long-distance migratory birds have been suggested to play a major role in the global spread of avian influenza viruses during this wave of panzootic outbreaks since 2013. Poultry farm epidemics caused by multiple introduction of different HPAI novel subtypes of clade 22.214.171.124 viruses also occurred in Taiwan between 2015 and 2017. The mandatory and active surveillance detected H5N3 and H5N6 circulation in 2015 and 2017, respectively, while H5N2 and H5N8 were persistently identified in poultry farms since their first arrival in 2015. This study intended to assess the importance of various ecological factors contributed to the persistence of HPAI during three consecutive years. We used satellite technology to identify the location of waterfowl flocks. Four risk factors consistently showed strong association with the spatial clustering of H5N2 and H5N8 circulations during 2015 and 2017, including high poultry farm density (aOR:17.46, 95%CI: 5.91-74.86 and 8.23, 95% CI: 2.12-54.86 in 2015 and 2017, respectively), poultry heterogeneity index (aOR of 12.28, 95%CI: 5.02-31.14 and 2.79, 95%CI: 1.00-7.69, in 2015 and 2017, respectively), non-registered waterfowl flock density (aOR: 6.8, 95%CI: 3.41-14.46 and 9.17, 95%CI: 3.73-26.20, in 2015 and 2017, respectively) and higher percentage of cropping land coverage (aOR of 1.36, 95%CI: 1.10-1.69 and 1.04, 95%CI: 1.02-1.07, in 2015 and 2017, respectively). Our study highlights the application of remote sensing and clustering analysis for the identification and characterization of environmental factors in facilitating and contributing to the persistent circulation of certain subtypes of H5Nx in poultry farms in Taiwan.
Project description:UNLABELLED:During 2014, a subclade 126.96.36.199 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5N8) virus caused poultry outbreaks around the world. In late 2014/early 2015, the virus was detected in wild birds in Canada and the United States, and these viruses also gave rise to reassortant progeny, composed of viral RNA segments (vRNAs) from both Eurasian and North American lineages. In particular, viruses were found with N1, N2, and N8 neuraminidase vRNAs, and these are collectively referred to as H5Nx viruses. In the United States, more than 48 million domestic birds have been affected. Here we present a detailed structural and biochemical analysis of the surface antigens of H5N1, H5N2, and H5N8 viruses in addition to those of a recent human H5N6 virus. Our results with recombinant hemagglutinin reveal that these viruses have a strict avian receptor binding preference, while recombinantly expressed neuraminidases are sensitive to FDA-approved and investigational antivirals. Although H5Nx viruses currently pose a low risk to humans, it is important to maintain surveillance of these circulating viruses and to continually assess future changes that may increase their pandemic potential. IMPORTANCE:The H5Nx viruses emerging in North America, Europe, and Asia pose a great public health concern. Here we report a molecular and structural study of the major surface proteins of several H5Nx influenza viruses. Our results improve the understanding of these new viruses and provide important information on their receptor preferences and susceptibilities to antivirals, which are central to pandemic risk assessment.
Project description:The highly pathogenic (HPAI) avian influenza A(H5N1) viruses have undergone reassortment with multiple non-N1-subtype neuraminidase genes since 2008, leading to the emergence of H5Nx viruses. H5Nx viruses established themselves quickly in birds and disseminated from China to Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Multiple genetic clades have successively evolved through frequent mutations and reassortment, posing a continuous threat to domestic poultry and causing substantial economic losses. Live bird markets are recognized as major sources of avian-to-human infection and for the emergence of zoonotic influenza. In Pakistan, the A(H5N1) virus was first reported in domestic birds in 2007; however, avian influenza surveillance is limited and there is a lack of knowledge on the evolution and transmission of the A(H5) virus in the country. We collected oropharyngeal swabs from domestic poultry and environmental samples from six different live bird markets during 2018-2019. We detected and sequenced HPAI A(H5N8) viruses from two chickens, one quail and one environmental sample in two markets. Temporal phylogenetics indicated that all novel HPAI A(H5N8) viruses belonged to clade 188.8.131.52b, with all eight genes of Pakistan A(H5N8) viruses most closely related to 2017 Saudi Arabia A(H5N8) viruses, which were likely introduced via cross-border transmission from neighboring regions approximately three months prior to virus detection into domestic poultry. Our data further revealed that clade 184.108.40.206b viruses underwent rapid lineage expansion in 2017 and acquired significant amino acid mutations, including mutations associated with increased haemagglutinin affinity to human α-2,6 receptors, prior to the first human A(H5N8) infection in Russian poultry workers in 2020. These results highlight the need for systematic avian influenza surveillance in live bird markets in Pakistan to monitor for potential A(H5Nx) variants that may arise from poultry populations.