Identification the Presence of Clade 2.3.2.1c-Avian Influenza H5N1, a Highly Pathogenic Virus in Iraq, 2018

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Abstract

For the first time in Iraq, we identified in March, 2018 the presence of a highly virulent avian influenza virus (AIV), H5N1 (Clade 2.3.2.1c), causing highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry farms, Iraq,. The identification of the virus was done using a rapid serological test, a real time-qPCR, and glycoprotein gene sequencing. Using sequencing and phylogenetic analyses, the clade 2.3.2.1c virus was recorded to be clustered, with high similarity to Asian and West African AIV, HPAI H5N1 from Ivory Coast identified in 2015. According to our knowledge, there was no previous detection of the clade 2.3.2.1c made in Iraq. Our results provide evidence that high risk of HPAI H5 outbreaks might be present in Iraq, and this needs to lead to high quality surveillance targeting of wild and domestic birds for early diagnosis of HPAI. The current work provides feasible and accurate approaches for understanding the evolution of HPAI H5 virus in different countries around the world.

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