Characterization of avian influenza viruses A (H5N1) from wild birds, Hong Kong, 2004-2008.
From January 2004 through June 2008, surveillance of dead wild birds in Hong Kong, People's Republic of China, periodically detected highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) viruses (H5N1) in individual birds from different species. During this period, no viruses of subtype H5N1 were detected in poultry on farms and in markets in Hong Kong despite intensive surveillance. Thus, these findings in wild birds demonstrate the potential for wild birds to disseminate HPAI viruses (H5N1) to areas otherwise free from the viruses. Genetic and antigenic characterization of 47 HPAI (H5N1) viruses isolated from dead wild birds in Hong Kong showed that these isolates belonged to 2 antigenically distinct virus groups: clades 2.3.4 and 2.3.2. Although research has shown that clade 2.3.4 viruses are established in poultry in Asia, the emergence of clade 2.3.2 viruses in nonpasserine birds from Hong Kong, Japan, and Russia raises the possibility that this virus lineage may have become established in wild birds.
Smith, GJD; Vijaykrishna, D; Ellis, TM; Dyrting, KC; Leung, YHC; Bahl, J; Wong, CW; Kai, H; Chow, MKW; Duan, L; Chan, ASL; Zhang, LJ; Chen, H; Luk, GSM; Peiris, JSM; Guan, Y
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