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H7N7 Detected in Germany

Recombinomics Commentary

February 18, 2006

analysis of a dead swan, which was found on the German Bodensee bank. Scientists identrifiziert as exciters of the animal epidemic the virus of the type H7N7.

The above translation indicates H7N7 was detected on the banks of Bodenese Lake, which is located in southern Germany near Austria, northern Italy, Switzeland, and eastern France.  H5N1 has already been reported in this area (see map), as well as in northern Germany.

This area has had a history of H7 outbreaks going back to Rostock Germany in 1934 (H7N1).  More recently there was an H7N7 outbreak in 2003 in The Netherlands, and H7 in wild birds has been detected previously.

Reassortment between H5 and H7 has created H5N7 isolated from ducks in  Denmark, so additional dual infections would not be surprising.

However, the H5N1 currently being reported in the area is the Qinghai strain, and Asian H5N1 has not previously been reported in the area.

H5N1 movement into new areas is cause for concern.  S227N was detected in Turkey after H5N1 migrated into the area.  Recombination between H5N1 and H9N2 leading to acquisition of S227N was predicted. H5N1 recombinations with H1N1 in European swine is another concern.  Recombination between H5N1 and H1N1 can lead to the acquisition of G228S.

Another concern is recombination between H7 in Europe and H5N1 leading to acquisition of E190D.  Although donor sequences have not been reported in recent H7 isolates from Europe, the number of H7 sequences on deposit at Genbank or Los Alamos is small, so current versions of H7 may not be well represented.

More sequences of H7 from the region would be useful.


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