Transition in genetic constellations of H3N8 and H4N6 low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses isolated from an overwintering site in Japan throughout different winter seasons
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The Izumi plain in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, is an overwintering site for migratory ducks and endangered cranes. We have surveyed avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in this area since 2012 and isolated low-pathogenic AIVs (LPAIVs) of various subtypes every winter season. H3N8 LPAIVs were isolated during the 2012/13 and 2016/17 seasons, and H4N6 LPAIVs were isolated during the 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons. In the 2017/18 season, one H3N8 and two H4N6 LPAIV strains were isolated from environmental water samples. Genetic and phylogenetic analysis for each gene segment from these H3N8 and H4N6 LPAIVs suggested that our isolates were genetic reassortants generated by intermixing between AIVs circulating not only in Eurasia but also in Africa and/or North America. Comparison of the genetic constellations of our three isolates with their counterparts isolated during previous seasons from the Izumi plain revealed a drastic transition in the genetic constellations of both subtypes. These findings emphasize the importance of continuous surveillance of AIVs on the Izumi plain.
We thank the City of Izumi for supporting the sample collection. This work was supported by grants from the Project of the NARO Bio-oriented Technology Research Advancement Institution (“R&D Matching Funds on the Field for Knowledge Integration and Innovation”) and by the contracted research activity for crane conservation with the City of Izumi, Japan. This research was commissioned by the Kagoshima Crane Conservation Committee.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.
Research involving human participants and/or animals
This research did not involve human or animal participants.
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