Isolation and characterization of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus subtype H5N1 from donkeys

Journal of Biomedical Science 2010, 17:25doi:10.1186/1423-0127-17-25
Published: 14 April 2010
Abstract (provisional)


The highly pathogenic H5N1 is a major avian pathogen that crosses species barriers and seriously affects humans as well as some mammals. It mutates in an intensified manner and is considered a potential candidate for the possible next pandemic with all the catastrophic consequences.

Nasal swabs were collected from donkeys suffered from respiratory distress. The virus was isolated from the pooled nasal swabs in specific pathogen free embryonated chicken eggs (SPF-ECE). Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and sequencing of both haemagglutingin and neuraminidase were performed. H5 seroconversion was screened using haemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay on 105 donkey serum samples.

We demonstrated that H5N1 jumped from poultry to another mammalian host; donkeys. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the virus clustered within the lineage of H5N1 from Egypt, closely related to 2009 isolates. It harboured few genetic changes compared to the closely related viruses from avian and humans. The neuraminidase lacks oseltamivir resistant mutations. Interestingly, HI screening for antibodies to H5 haemagglutinins in donkeys revealed high exposure rate.


These findings extend the host range of the H5N1 influenza virus, possess implications for influenza virus epidemiology and highlight the need for the systematic surveillance of H5N1 in animals in the vicinity of backyard poultry units especially in endemic areas.

•  China Makes Progress in Thwarting Avian Flu (Link)

•  China’s Health Ministry warns outbreak of marmot plague in quake zone (Link)
•  Hong Kong influenza A/H1N1 death toll rises to 80 (Link)

•  Security Forces Blockade farm (Link)

•  Ashanti records two cases of H1N1 Influenza (Link)

•  India: Chopal deaths – It could be swine flu (Link)
•  Four swine flu cases surface in remote Kupvi area of Shimla (Link)

•  A (H1N1): Johor lawyer latest victim (Link)

•  ‘Release Funds for Campaign against Bird Flu‘ (Link)

•  There is a mysterious disease in Rwampara (Link)

United States
•  US: Swine flu can damage kidneys, doctors find (Link)
•  IL H1N1 report: 3 deaths, 13 hospitalizations last week (Link)

•  Two sick with bird flu in Vietnam, 11 undergo tests (Link)
•  8 patients with suspected influenza A (H5N1) at the district hospital treatment are discharged from hospital (translated) (Link)

•  Training on early diagnosis and treatment of patients infected with influenza A H5N1 (translated) (Link)
•  Warning appearance A/H5N1 flu cluster (translated) (Link)
•  Not detect influenza A/H5N1 infection from person to person (translated) (Link)

•  Recombinomics: Polymerase Changes in 2010 pH1N1 In Georgia (Link)