Absence of adaptive #evolution is the main #barrier against #influenza emergence in #horses in #Asia despite frequent virus interspecies transmission from #wildbirds (PLoS Pathog., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

PLoS Pathog. 2019 Feb 7;15(2):e1007531. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007531. eCollection 2019 Feb.

Absence of adaptive evolution is the main barrier against influenza emergence in horses in Asia despite frequent virus interspecies transmission from wild birds.

Zhu H1, Damdinjav B2, Gonzalez G1, Patrono LV1,3, Ramirez-Mendoza H4, Amat JAR1, Crispell J1, Parr YA1, Hammond TA5, Shiilegdamba E6, Leung YHC7,8, Peiris M7, Marshall JF9, Hughes J1, Gilbert M6,10,11, Murcia PR1.

Author information: 1 MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research, Glasgow, United Kingdom. 2 State Central Veterinary Laboratory, Transboundary Animal Disease Laboratory, Avian Influenza Section, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. 3 Project Group Epidemiology of Highly Pathogenic Microorganisms, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany. 4 Departamento de Microbiología e Inmunología, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de Mexico, México. 5 Animal Health Trust, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, United Kingdom. 6 Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY, United States of America. 7 School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. 8 Laboratory Animal Unit, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. 9 Weipers Centre Equine Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom. 10 Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.  11 Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, United States of America.



Virus ecology and evolution play a central role in disease emergence. However, their relative roles will vary depending on the viruses and ecosystems involved. We combined field studies, phylogenetics and experimental infections to document with unprecedented detail the stages that precede initial outbreaks during viral emergence in nature. Using serological surveys we showed that in the absence of large-scale outbreaks, horses in Mongolia are routinely exposed to and infected by avian influenza viruses (AIVs) circulating among wild birds. Some of those AIVs are genetically related to an avian-origin virus that caused an epizootic in horses in 1989. Experimental infections showed that most AIVs replicate in the equine respiratory tract without causing lesions, explaining the absence of outbreaks of disease. Our results show that AIVs infect horses but do not spread, or they infect and spread but do not cause disease. Thus, the failure of AIVs to evolve greater transmissibility and to cause disease in horses is in this case the main barrier preventing disease emergence.

PMID: 30731004 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007531

Keywords: Avian Influenza; Equine Influenza; Horses; Wild Birds; Mongolia.


Published by

Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.