A total of 1007 samples (910 fecal droplets and 97 cloacal swabs) were collected from 14 species of migratory wild birds in most wetlands during 3 successive migration seasons from September to March (2015-2018) in Southern Egypt. The samples were propagated in embryonated chicken eggs and positive allantoic fluids by hemagglutination test were tested for Newcastle disease virus (NDV) and avian influenza virus (AIV) prevalence using RT-PCR and specific primers targeting the NDV fusion (F) and AIV matrix genes. Further subtyping of the AIV hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) was conducted, and representative isolates were selected and sequenced for full F gene of NDVs and HA and NA genes of the AIV. Overall isolation rate of hemagglutinating viruses was 5.56% (56/1007), from them 5.36% (3/56) AIV, 85.71% (48/56) NDV and 8.93% (5/56) co-infection of NDV and AIV was detected. The sequences analysis of full F genes of 10 NDV isolates revealed that they have multi-basic amino acid motifs 111E/GRRQKR/F117 as velogenic strains with nucleotides and amino acids similarities of 96-100%. In addition, they phylogenetically clustered into groups and subgroups within genotype VII.1.1 and sub-genotype VIIj with a close relation to NDVs isolated from chickens in Egypt. The AIV H5N8 subtype was in clade 188.8.131.52b with a highly pathogenic nature and close relation to Egyptian domesticated H5N8 viruses rather than those from wild birds. The current data showed the contribution of migratory birds to the continuous circulation of virulent NDV and AIV H5N8 among domesticated chickens in Southern Egypt.
Keywords: Egypt; Genetic characterization; HPAIV H5N8; Migratory wild birds; Velogenic NDV.
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