ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.1027.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Highly pathogenic avian influenza; H5N1/H9N2 reassortant virus; Nigeria
Online: 15 May 2023 (10:38:06 CEST)
In 2021, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and global food insecurity, the Nigerian poultry sector was yet exposed to highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus and its economic challenges. Between 2021 and 2022, HPAI caused 467 outbreaks reported in 31 of the 37 administrative regions in Nigeria. In this study, we characterized the genome of 97 influenza A viruses of the subtypes H5N1, H5N2 and H5N8 identified in different agro-ecological zones and farms during the 2021-2022 epidemic. The phylogenetic analysis of the HA genes showed widespread distribution of the H5Nx clade 220.127.116.11b and similarity with the HPAI H5Nx viruses detected in Europe since late 2020. Topology of the phylogenetic trees indicates the occurrence of several independent introductions of the virus into the country followed by a regional evolution of the virus most probably linked to its persistent circulation in West African territories. An additional evidence of the evolutionary potential of HPAI viruses circulating in this region is the identification in this study of a putative H5N1/H9N2 reassortant virus in a mixed-species commercial poultry farm. Our data confirm Nigeria as a crucial hotspot for HPAI virus introduction from the Eurasian territories and reveal a dynamic pattern of avian influenza virus evolution within the Nigerian poultry population.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0404.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: HPAI; H5N1; Italy; genetic network; epidemiological investigation; contact tracing; ERGM
Online: 22 December 2022 (01:14:38 CET)
Between October 2021 and April 2022, 317 outbreaks caused by highly pathogenic avian influen-za (HPAI) H5N1 viruses were notified in poultry farms in the northeastern Italian Regions. The complete genomes of 214 strains were used to estimate the genetic network based on the virus similarity. An exponential random graph model (ERGM) was used to assess the effect of at-risk contacts, same owners, in-bound/out-bound risk windows overlap, genetic differences, geograph-ic distances, same species and poultry company, on the probability of observing a link within the genetic network, which can be interpreted as the potential propagation of the epidemic via lateral spread or a common source of infection. The variables same poultry company (Est.=0.548, C.I.=[0.179;0.918]) and risk windows overlap (Est.=0.339, C.I.=[0.309;0.368]) were associated with a higher probability of link formation, while the genetic differences (Est.=-0.563, C.I.=[-0.640;-0.486]) and geographic distances (Est.=-0.058, C.I.=[-0.078;-0.038]) indicated a re-duced probability. The integration of epidemiological data with genomic analyses allows moni-toring the epidemic evolution and helps explain the dynamics of lateral spreads suggesting the potential diffusion routes. The 2021-2022 epidemic stresses the need to further strengthen the bi-osecurity measures, and to encourage the reorganisation of the poultry production sector to mini-mize the impact of future epidemics.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202308.1579.v1
Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Animal Science, Veterinary Science And Zoology Keywords: highly pathogenic avian influenza A H5N8; clade 18.104.22.168b; Kosovo; domestic poultry; phylogenetic network analysis; viruses; persistent circulation
Online: 22 August 2023 (12:59:41 CEST)
In this study, we report the first outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A H5N8, clade 22.214.171.124b in Kosovo on May 19, 2021. The outbreak consisted of three temporal phases: May–June 2021, September–November 2021, and January–May 2022. In total, 32 backyard and 10 commercial holdings tested positive for the virus, affecting 179,198 poultry. Interestingly, the third and last phase of the outbreak coincided with the massive H5N1 clade 126.96.36.199b epidemic in Europe. Phylogenetic analyses of 28 viral strains from Kosovo revealed that they were closely related to the H5N8 clade 188.8.131.52.b viruses that have been circulating in Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, and Russia in early 2021. Whole genome sequencing of the 25 and partial sequencing of 3 H5N8 viruses from Kosovo showed high nucleotide identity, forming a distinctive cluster and suggesting a single introduction. The results of the network analysis were in accordance with the three epidemic waves and suggested that the viral diffusion could have been caused by secondary spreads among farms and/or different introductions of the same virus from wild birds. The persistent circulation of the same virus over a one-year period highlights the potential risk of the virus becoming endemic, especially in settings with non-adequate biosecurity.