The continuous worldwide spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 viruses among wild birds and poultry is a potential threat to public health. In the present study, we investigated the genetic characteristics of recent H5N8 viruses continuously isolated from migratory birds over two winters (2013-2014 and 2014-2015) in South Korea. Genetic and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the 2014-2015 HPAI H5N8 viruses are closely related to the 2013-2014 viruses, including virulence markers; however, all eight gene segments of 2014-2015 H5N8 viruses clustered in different phylogenetic branches from 2013-2014 H5N8 viruses, except the A/Em/Korea/W492/2015 virus. The H5N8 viruses of Europe and North America belong to sublineages of the 2013-2014 Korean H5N8 viruses but differ from the 2014-2015 Korean H5N8 viruses. Further hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay results showed that there were 2-to-4 fold differences in HI titer between 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 H5N8 viruses. Taken together, our results suggested that the 2014-2015 Korean H5N8 viruses were genetically and serologically different from those of 2013-2014 winter season H5N8 viruses, including those from Europe and North America.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 16, 2016
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