Xuyong Li, Jiayun Yang, Bin Liu, Yane Jia, Jing Guo, Xue Gao, Shaoting Weng, Maijuan Yang, Liang Wang, Lin-Fa Wang, Jie Cui, Hualan Chen & Qiyun Zhu
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 25549 (2016)
Multiple infections of avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in poultry or wild birds contribute to the continued evolution of H5 subtype viruses in nature and provide potential recombination of AIVs of different origins. In this study, we carried out surveillance of AIVs in ducks, geese and the environment of a community in Hunan province, China, from 2014–2015. We isolated multiple co-circulated AIVs including H3N2, H3N8, and H5N6, and, most importantly, a novel reassortant: H3N6. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that H3N6 is highly likely derived from H5N6, which has recently been shown to have zoonotic potential with human infections. Studies with mammalian cell lines and a mouse model indicate that four selected AIVs of duck or goose origin can infect MDCK and A549 cells but have low pathogenicity in mice. We propose that a potential co-circulation of multiple subtypes including H5N6 in local area may result in the production of novel subtypes such as H3N6 by gene reassortment.