Gahan J, et al. Whole Genome Sequencing of the First H3N8 Equine Influenza Virus Identified in Malaysia. Pathogens. 2019 May 10;8(2).
In August 2015, Malaysia experienced an outbreak of acute respiratory disease in racehorses. Clinical signs observed were consistent with equine influenza (EI) infection. The index cases were horses recently imported from New Zealand. Rapid control measures, including temporary cancellation of racing, were implemented to minimize the impact of the outbreak. By November, the disease outbreak was resolved, and movement restrictions were lifted. The aim of this study was to confirm the clinical diagnosis and characterize the causal virus. A pan-reactive influenza type A real-time RT-PCR was used for confirmatory diagnosis. Antigenic characterization by haemagglutinin inhibition using a panel of specific ferret antisera indicated that the causal virus belonged to clade 1 of the H3N8 Florida sub-lineage. The genetic characterization was achieved by the whole genome sequencing of positive nasal swabs from clinically affected animals. Pylogenetic analysis of the haemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes demonstrated ≥99% homology with several EI strains that had recently circulated in the USA and Japan. The antigenic and genetic characterization did not indicate that the current World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommendations for EI vaccine composition required modification.
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