Molecular characterization of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses h5n6 detected in denmark in 2018–2019

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Beginning in late 2017, highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N6 viruses caused outbreaks in wild birds and poultry in several European countries. H5N6 viruses were detected in 43 wild birds found dead throughout Denmark. Most of the Danish virus-positive dead birds were found in the period from February to April 2018. However, unlike the rest of Europe, sporadic HPAI H5N6-positive dead wild birds were detected in Denmark in July, August, September, and December 2018, with the last positive bird being found in January 2019. HPAI viruses were not detected in active surveillance of apparently healthy wild birds. In this study, we use full genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis to investigate the wild bird HPAI H5N6 viruses found in Denmark. The Danish viruses were found to be closely related to those of contemporary HPAI H5N6 viruses detected in Europe. Their sequences formed two clusters indicating that at least two or more introductions of H5N6 into Denmark occurred. Notably, all viruses detected in the latter half of 2018 and in 2019 grouped into the same cluster. The H5N6 viruses appeared to have been maintained undetected in the autumn 2018.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1052
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Birds, Disease outbreaks, Europa, H5N6 subtype, Highly pathogenic avian influenza, Infectious disease outbreak, Influenza A virus, Phylogeny, Surveillance, Wild

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