Pathogenicity and Full Genome Sequencing of the Avian Influenza H9N2 Moroccan Isolate 2016
Zineb Boumart, Zahra Bamouh, Mohammed Jazouli, Bianca Zecchin, Alice Fusaro, Annalisa Salviato, Isabella Monne, Khalid Omari Tadlaoui, and Mehdi El Harrak
SUMMARY. In Morocco in early 2016, a low pathogenic avian influenza virus serotype H9N2 caused large economic losses to the poultry industry, with specific clinical symptoms and high mortality rates on infected farms. Subsequent to the H9N2 outbreak, the causal agent was successfully isolated from chicken flocks with high morbidity and mortality rates, propagated on embryonated eggs, and fully sequenced. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that the Moroccan isolate could have derived from the Middle East isolate A/chicken/Dubai/D2506.A/2015. This study was designed to assess the pathogenicity of the Moroccan isolate H9N2 in experimentally infected broiler and specific-pathogen-free (SPF) chickens. At 22 days of age, one broiler and two SPF chicken groups were inoculated by dropping 0.2 ml of the H9N2 isolate (107.5 EID50/ml) in both nostrils and eyes. Clinically inoculated chickens with H9N2 displayed mild lesions, low mortality rates, and an absence of clinical signs. The H9N2 virus was more pathogenic in broiler chickens and produced more severe tissue lesions compared to SPF chickens. The viral shedding was detected up to 6 days postinoculation (pi) in oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs in infected birds with a maximum shedding in the oropharynges of the broiler group. All experimental chickens seroconverted and registered high hemagglutination inhibition titers as early as day 7 pi. The present study indicates that the H9N2 virus isolated from a natural outbreak was of low pathogenicity under experimental conditions. However, under field conditions infection with other pathogens might have aggravated the disease.
Disease: Avian Influenza H9N2
Published: 16 November 2018