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Fujian H5N8 Confirmed In Porto Vira Italy
Recombinomics Commentary
December 17, 2014 14:30

Laboratory name and type Species Test Test date Result
Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute (IZSVe), PADOVA (National laboratory) Birds gene sequencing Pending
Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute (IZSVe), PADOVA (National laboratory) Birds intravenous pathogenicity index (IVPI) test Pending
Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute (IZSVe), PADOVA (National laboratory) Birds reverse transcription - polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) 15/12/2014 Positive

The above comments from the December 16 OIE report describe testing on turkeys from a farm in Porto Viro, Italy (see map).  A partial H5 sequence, A/turkey/Italy/14VIR7898-10/2014 from a December 15 collection has been released at GISAID. Experimental Zooprophylactic Institute is to be commended for the rapid release of this important sequence, which is most closely related to a Eurasian wigeon in The Netherlands, A/eurasian wigeon/Netherlands/emc-1/2014, and a domestic duck in England, A/duck/England/36254/14, confirming the spread of H5N8 to Italy, which has been reported in November in Germany, The Netherlands, England and Japan (see list of related sequences).

Most recently, H5N8 has been reported in three pet falcons in Lynden, Washington in the United States.  The H5N2 outbreak in British Columbia, Canada has 5 of its 8 gene segments, including H5 from H5N2, with the remaining 3 genes, including N2 from a North American wild bird lineage.  H5N2 has also been confirmed in a northern pintail shot at Wiser Lake, 9 miles south of the H5N2 confirmed farm in Langly adjacent to Abbotsford (see map).

Prior to the recent outbreaks above, H5N8 had never been reported outside of Asia.  The spread of H5N8 to Europe and North America raises serious concerns that the spread will extend to the Middle East and Africa, as was seen by the Qinghai strain (clade 2.2) in 2005/2006. 

The H5N8 and H5N2 sequences have a Fujian H5 (clade 2.3.4) which is dramatically expanding its geographic reach.

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