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Detection of Hong Kong 97-like H5N1 influenza viruses from eggs of Vietnamese waterfowl

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Three H5N1 influenza viruses were isolated from shell washes of duck and goose eggs confiscated from travelers coming from Vietnam. All eight gene segments of these viruses share high sequence identity with the H5N1 avian influenza viruses that caused outbreaks in poultry and humans in Hong Kong in 1997. Animal studies indicate that these isolated viruses are able to replicate in mouse lung and could be found in the organs of ducks without causing any clinical signs or death. However, the viruses are highly pathogenic for chickens. Although the source of these recently isolated Hong Kong 97-like H5N1 viruses is undetermined, their detection in the egg shell of duck and goose suggests that this particular genotype of H5N1 virus may have re-emerged in nature or may have been circulating continuously.

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Li, Y., Lin, Z., Shi, J. et al. Detection of Hong Kong 97-like H5N1 influenza viruses from eggs of Vietnamese waterfowl. Arch Virol 151, 1615–1624 (2006).

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