Avian influenza: mixed infections and missing viruses.

Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA. .
Viruses (Impact Factor: 3.28). 08/2013; 5(8):1964-77. DOI: 10.3390/v5081964
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A high prevalence and diversity of avian influenza (AI) viruses were detected in a population of wild mallards sampled during summer 2011 in California, providing an opportunity to compare results obtained before and after virus culture. We tested cloacal swab samples prior to culture by matrix real-time PCR, and by amplifying and sequencing a 640bp portion of the hemagglutinin (HA) gene. Each sample was also inoculated into embryonated chicken eggs, and full genome sequences were determined for cultured viruses. While low matrix Ct values were a good predictor of virus isolation from eggs, samples with high or undetectable Ct values also yielded isolates. Furthermore, a single passage in eggs altered the occurrence and detection of viral strains, and mixed infections (different HA subtypes) were detected less frequently after culture. There is no gold standard or perfect reference comparison for surveillance of unknown viruses, and true negatives are difficult to distinguish from false negatives. This study showed that sequencing samples prior to culture increases the detection of mixed infections and enhances the identification of viral strains and sequences that may have changed or even disappeared during culture.

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    ABSTRACT: Influenza A virus (IAV) in wild bird reservoir hosts is characterized by the perpetuation in a plethora of subtype and genotype constellations. Multiyear monitoring studies carried out during the last two decades worldwide have provided a large body of knowledge regarding the ecology of IAV in wild birds. Nevertheless, other issues of avian IAV evolution have not been fully elucidated, such as the complexity and dynamics of genetic interactions between the co-circulating IAV genomes taking place at a local-scale level or the phenomenon of frozen evolution. We investigated the IAV diversity in a mallard population residing in a single pond in the Czech Republic. Despite the relative small number of samples collected, remarkable heterogeneity was revealed with four different IAV subtype combinations, H6N2, H6N9, H11N2, and H11N9, and six genomic constellations in co-circulation. Moreover, the H6, H11, and N2 segments belonged to two distinguishable sub-lineages. A reconstruction of the pattern of genetic reassortment revealed direct parent-progeny relationships between the H6N2, H11N9 and H6N9 viruses. Interestingly the IAV, with the H6N9 subtype, was re-detected a year later in a genetically unchanged form in the close proximity of the original sampling locality. The almost absolute nucleotide sequence identity of all the respective genomic segments between the two H6N9 viruses indicates frozen evolution as a result of prolonged conservation in the environment. The persistence of the H6N9 IAV in various abiotic and biotic environmental components was also discussed.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e103053. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0103053 · 3.53 Impact Factor

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