Detection of a reassortant H9N2 Avian Influenza virus with intercontinental gene segments in a resident Australian Chestnut Teal

The present study reports the genetic characterization of a low-pathogenicity H9N2 avian influenza virus, initially from a pool and subsequently from individual faecal samples collected from Chestnut teals (Anas castanea) in southeastern Australia. Phylogenetic analyses of six full gene segments and two partial gene segments obtained from next-generation sequencing showed that this avian influenza virus, A/Chestnut teal/Australia/CT08.18/12952/2018 (H9N2), was a typical, low-pathogenicity, Eurasian aquatic bird lineage H9N2 virus, albeit containing the North American lineage nucleoprotein (NP) gene segment detected previously in Australian wild birds. This is the first report of a H9N2 avian influenza virus in resident wild birds in Australia, and although not in itself a cause of concern, is a clear indication of spillover and likely reassortment of influenza viruses between migratory and resident birds, and an indication that any lineage could potentially be introduced in this way.

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