Source identification of H7N9 influenza virus causing human infections

April 25, 2013

In March 2013, a novel H7N9 influenza virus was identified in China as the etiological agent of a flu-like disease in humans, resulting in some deaths. A group of scientists, led by Professor Chen Hualan (National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences) have investigated the origins of this novel H7N9 influenza virus (Shi et al., 2013). Following analysis of H7N9 influenza viruses collected from live poultry markets, it was found that these viruses circulating among birds were responsible for human infections. These novel H7N9 viruses are reassortants in which the six internal genes were derived from avian H9N2 viruses; however the origins of their hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes were unclear.

A total of 970 samples were collected from live poultry markets and located in Shanghai and Anhui Province. Samples analyzed included drinking water, feces, contaminated soil, and cloacal and tracheal swabs. Of these samples, 20 were positive for the presence of H7N9 influenza viruses. All of the positive samples originated from live poultry markets in Shanghai. Of these 20 positive samples, 10 were isolated from chickens, 3 from pigeons, and 7 were from environmental samples.

The complete genome of three H7N9 isolates, from a chicken, pigeon, and environmental sample, was sequenced and deposited into the GISAID database. Genetic analysis of these isolates revealed high homology across all eight . Phylogenetic analysis of these novel H7N9 isolates showed that that the six internal genes were derived from avian H9N2 viruses, but the ancestor of their HA and NA genes is unknown. According to the GenBank database, the HA genes of the novel isolated viruses were most similar to those from duck H7N3 influenza viruses, sharing 95.2

Explore further: First molecular evidence links live poultry markets to human H5N1 infection in China

More information: Shi J Z, Deng G H, Liu P H, et al. Isolation and characterization of H7N9 viruses from live poultry markets—Implication of the source of current H7N9 infection in humans. Chin Sci Bull, 2013, 58, doi:10.1007/s11434-013-5873-4. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11434-013-5873-4

Related Stories

First molecular evidence links live poultry markets to human H5N1 infection in China

December 16, 2011
Sequences of H5N1 virus from live bird markets in China matched sequences from patients who had recently visited the live bird markets, according to a paper in the December 2011 Journal of Virology. Live poultry markets have ...

WHO says new H7N9 flu passes more easily from bird to human

April 24, 2013
A new strain of bird flu that emerged in China over the past month is one of the "most lethal" flu viruses so far, worrying health officials because it can jump more easily from birds to humans than the one that started killing ...

H7N9 flu 'one of most lethal' says WHO as spreads to Taiwan (Update)

April 24, 2013
International experts probing China's deadly H7N9 bird flu virus said Wednesday it was "one of the most lethal influenza viruses" seen so far as Taiwan reported the first case outside the mainland.

Animal health agency: Bird flu poses 'exceptional situation' (Update)

April 11, 2013
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on Thursday said H7N9 bird flu posed an "exceptional situation" as the outbreak among Chinese poultry claimed a 10th human victim.

Recommended for you

Pneumonia vaccine under development provides 'most comprehensive coverage' to date, alleviates antimicrobial concerns

October 20, 2017
In 2004, pneumonia killed more than 2 million children worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. By 2015, the number was less than 1 million.

Newly discovered viral marker could help predict flu severity in infected patients

October 20, 2017
Flu viruses contain defective genetic material that may activate the immune system in infected patients, and new research published in PLOS Pathogens suggests that lower levels of these molecules could increase flu severity.

H7N9 influenza is both lethal and transmissible in animal model for flu

October 19, 2017
In 2013, an influenza virus that had never before been detected began circulating among poultry in China. It caused several waves of human infection and in late 2016, the number of people to become sick from the H7N9 virus ...

Flu simulations suggest pandemics more likely in spring, early summer

October 19, 2017
New statistical simulations suggest that Northern Hemisphere flu pandemics are most likely to emerge in late spring or early summer at the tail end of the normal flu season, according to a new study published in PLOS Computational ...

New insights into herpes virus could inform vaccine development

October 18, 2017
A team of scientists has discovered new insights into the mechanisms of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, as well as two antibodies that block the virus' entry into cells. The findings, published in Proceedings of the National ...

Pair of discoveries illuminate new paths to flu and anthrax treatments

October 17, 2017
Two recent studies led by biologists at the University of California San Diego have set the research groundwork for new avenues to treat influenza and anthrax poisoning.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.