ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0338.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: migratory birds; Newcastle disease virus-GVII; poultry; phylogenetics; sequence-independent; sin-gle-primer amplification (SISPA); velogenic; whole genome sequencing (WGS)
Online: 18 August 2022 (10:40:10 CEST)
Newcastle disease virus (NDV) genotype VII is a highly pathogenic Orthoavulavirus that has caused multiple outbreaks among poultry in Egypt since 2011. This study aimed to investigate the genetic diversity of NDV prevailing in domestic and wild birds in Egyptian governorates. A total of 37 oropharyngeal swabs from wild birds and 101 swabs from domestic bird flocks including chickens, ducks, turkeys, and swans were collected from different geographic regions within 13 governorates during 2019-2020. Virus isolation and propagation via embryonated eggs revealed 91 swab samples produced allantoic fluid containing hemagglutination activity, suggestive of virus presence. The use of RT-PCR targeted to F gene successfully detected NDV in 85 samples. The geographical prevalence of NDV spread to 12 governorates in domestic birds, migratory and non-migratory wild birds. Following whole genome sequencing, we assembled six NDV genome sequences (70 - 99% of genome coverage), including five full F gene sequences. All NDV strains carried high virulence, based on the presence of polybasic amino acids (RRQRF) at the F gene cleavage site. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the NDV strains belonged to class II within genotype VII.1.1. The presence of genetically similar virulent NDV in wild birds further highlights their role in the dissemination of NDV in poultry populations across Egypt. Continued genomic surveillance in both wild birds and poultry would be necessary for monitoring NDV incursions and genetic diversification.