The avian-like swine influenza viruses emerged in 1979 in Belgium and Germany. Thereafter, they spread through many European swine-producing countries, replaced the circulating classical swine H1N1 influenza viruses, and became endemic. Serological and subsequent molecular data indicated an avian source, but details remained obscure due to a lack of relevant avian influenza virus sequence data. Here, the origin of the European avian-like swine influenza viruses was analysed using a collection of 16 European swine H1N1 influenza viruses sampled in 1979-1981 in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and France, as well as several contemporaneous avian influenza viruses of various serotypes. The phylogenetic trees suggested a triple reassortant with a unique genotype constellation. Time-resolved maximum clade credibility trees indicated times to the most recent common ancestors of 34-46 years (before 2008) depending on the RNA segment and the method of tree inference.
© 2014 The Authors.