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Comparative Virological and Pathogenic Characteristics of Avian Influenza H5N8 Viruses Detected in Wild Birds and Domestic Poultry in Egypt during the Winter of 2016/2017

Center of Scientific Excellence for Influenza Virus, Environmental Research Division, National Research Centre, Giza 12622, Egypt
Department of Anatomy and Embryology, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo 11562, Egypt
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105, USA
Department of Botany and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Gamaa Street, Giza 12613, Egypt
Center for Ecology of Infectious Disease, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
Pathology and Clinical Pathology Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Assuit University, Assuit 71526, Egypt
Human Link, Hazmieh 1109, Lebanon
Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas, Houston, TX 77030, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Contributed equally as first authors.
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 990;
Received: 20 September 2019 / Revised: 9 October 2019 / Accepted: 10 October 2019 / Published: 27 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
The surveillance and virological characterization of H5N8 avian influenza viruses are important in order to assess their zoonotic potential. The genetic analyses of the Egyptian H5N8 viruses isolated through active surveillance in wild birds and domestic poultry in the winter of 2016/2017 showed multiple introductions of reassortant viruses. In this study, we investigated and compared the growth kinetics, infectivity, and pathogenicity of the three reassortant forms of H5N8 viruses detected in wild birds and domestic poultry in Egypt during the first introduction wave in the winter of 2016/2017. Three representative H5N8 viruses (abbreviated as 813, 871, and 13666) were selected. The 871/H5N8 virus showed enhanced growth properties in vitro in Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) and A549 cells. Interestingly, all viruses replicated well in mice without prior adaptation. Infected C57BL/6 mice showed 20% mortality for 813/H5N8 and 60% mortality for 871/H5N8 and 13666/H5N8, which could be attributed to the genetic differences among the viruses. Studies on the pathogenicity in experimentally infected ducks revealed a range of pathogenic effects, with mortality rate ranging from 0% for 813/H5N8 and 13666/H5N8 to 28% for 871/H5N8. No significant differences were observed among the three compared viruses in infected chickens. Overall, different H5N8 viruses had variable biological characteristics, indicating a continuous need for surveillance and virus characterization efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: avian influenza virus; H5N8; Egypt; pathogenicity avian influenza virus; H5N8; Egypt; pathogenicity
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Moatasim, Y.; Kandeil, A.; Aboulhoda, B.E.; El-Shesheny, R.; Alkhazindar, M.; AbdElSalam, E.T.; Kutkat, O.; Kamel, M.N.; El Taweel, A.N.; Mostafa, A.; Hicks, J.T.; Abd elghaffar, S.K.; Kayali, G.; Ali, M.A. Comparative Virological and Pathogenic Characteristics of Avian Influenza H5N8 Viruses Detected in Wild Birds and Domestic Poultry in Egypt during the Winter of 2016/2017. Viruses 2019, 11, 990.

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