Virulent Newcastle disease viruses (NDV) have been present in Mexico since 1946, and recently, multiple outbreaks have been reported in the country. Here, we characterized eleven NDV isolated from apparently healthy wild birds and backyard chickens in three different locations of Jalisco, Mexico in 2017. Total RNA from NDV was reverse-transcribed, and 1285 nucleotides, which includes 3/4 of the fusion gene, was amplified and sequenced using a long-read MinION sequencing method. The sequences were 99.99-100% identical to the corresponding region obtained using the Illumina MiSeq. Phylogenetic analysis using MinION sequences demonstrated that nine virulent NDV from wild birds belonged to sub-genotypes Vc and VIn, and two backyard chicken isolates were of sub-genotype Vc. The sub-genotype Vc viruses had nucleotide sequence identity that ranged from 97.7 to 98% to a virus of the same sub-genotype isolated from a chicken in Mexico in 2010. Three viruses from pigeons had 96.3-98.7% nucleotide identity to sub-genotype VIn pigeon viruses, commonly referred to as pigeon paramyxovirus, isolated in the USA during 2000-2016. This study demonstrates that viruses of sub-genotype Vc are still present in Mexico, and the detection of this sub-genotype in both chickens and wild birds suggests that transmission among these species may represent a biosecurity risk. This is the first detection and complete genome sequencing of genotype VI NDV from Mexico. In addition, the utilization of an optimized long-read sequencing method for rapid virulence and genotype identification using the Oxford nanopore MinION system is demonstrated.
Keywords: Genotype; MiSeq; MinION; Newcastle; Virus; Wild birds.