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Fujian H5N2 Wild Bird Clonal Expansion In The United States
Recombinomics Commentary
February 21, 2015 11:30

The USDA has released three sets of Fujian clade H5N2 sequences (A/chicken/Washington/61-9/2014, A/domestic duck/Washington/61-16/2014, A/turkey/Washington/61-22/2014) from December 30 collections on the index farm in Benton County, Washington are closely related to each other, as well as sequences from the index farm December 2 collection in Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada (A/turkey/BC/FAV10/2014) and a wild bird December 8 collection from Wiser Lake in Whatcom County, Washington (A/Northern_pintail/Washington/40964/2014). 

These similarities signal clonal expansion of this constellation (with North American wild bird sequences in PB1, NP, and N2) by migratory birds.The sequence matches in Benton County in December 30, 2014 collections was followed by H5N2 confirmation in 6 hunter killed wild birds (3 Wood Ducks and 3 Northern Shovelers) in the Umatilla Wildlife Refuge, which is about 25 miles southwest of the Benton Country farms (see H5N2 map). 

These January 3, 2015 collections in Morrow County likely match the Benton County sequences Similarly, the H5N2 in a mallard from the Fern Ridge Wildlife area near Eugene, Oregon in collected January 7 also likely matches the Washington sequences as well as the H5N2 in a Mallard in the same area in Lane County collected earlier, or the Northern Pintail collected later.  In addition, H5N2 was also found in hunter killed wild birds (2 Mallards and 1 Pintail) in Columbia County collected January 5.

The sequence data supporting clonal expansion of H5N2 by wild birds in the United States is in addition to H5N8 sequence data showing clonal expansion of the parental Fujian serotype and the OIE report on H5N1 in Fraser Valley appears to match the H5N1 sequence in Whatcom County (A/

All three serotypes in North America have an H5 that is closely related to the crane in Kagoshima, Japan (A/crane/Kagoshima/KU1/2014), which is also found in the three serotypes in Taiwan (
H5N2 A/Goose/Taiwan/0104/2015, H5N3 A/Goose/Taiwan/01042/2015, and H5N8 A/Goose/Taiwan/0103/2015).

The spread of Fujian clade in wild birds in the United States may lead to a new wave of outbreaks as the migratory birds in the US begin to fly north to Canada in the upcoming weeks.

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