Date: 14 Jun 2014

Identification and genetic characterization of avian-origin H3N2 canine influenza viruses isolated from the Liaoning province of China in 2012

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A total of 158 serum samples and 510 nasal swab specimens were collected between September 2010 and May 2012, from dogs exhibiting respiratory symptoms, in order to investigate the epidemiology of H3N2 canine influenza viruses (CIVs) in the Liaoning province of China. Serological surveillance demonstrated that 10.8 % (17/158) of serum samples were positive for H3N2 canine influenza. Two H3N2 influenza viruses, A/canine/Liaoning/27/2012 and A/canine/Liaoning/H6/2012, were isolated from pet dogs in 2012. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the genes from these two viruses were closely related to those of avian-origin, H3N2 subtype CIVs from China and Thailand. Genetic analysis of eight genes revealed that these two H3N2 canine influenza isolates were highly similar (99.2–99.8 %) to the current common strains in Asia. Analysis of the genotype demonstrated that each gene of the two strains in this study had the same genotype (K, G, E, 3B, F, 2D, F, 1E) as those prevalent in H3N2 CIVs. Our findings further confirm that avian-origin H3N2 canine influenza has become established in China. Conducting extensive serological and epidemiological surveillance is necessary to develop an effective vaccine against this disease.

Xinyan Yang, Chunguo Liu and Fei Liu contributed equally to this work.