Mine J, Uchida Y, Takemae N, Saito T. Genetic characterization of influenza A viruses in Japanese swine during 2015-2019. J Virol. 2020 Apr 29. pii: JVI.02169-19.
To assess the current status of influenza A viruses of swine (IAVs-S) throughout Japan and to investigate how these viruses persisted and evolve on pig farms, we genetically characterized IAVs-S isolated during 2015-2019. Nasal swab samples collected through active surveillance and lung tissue samples collected for diagnosis yielded 424 IAVs-S-comprising 78 H1N1, 331 H1N2, and 15 H3N2 viruses-from farms in sampled 21 prefectures in Japan. Phylogenetic analyses of surface genes revealed that the 1A.1 classical swine H1 lineage has evolved uniquely since the late 1970s among pig populations in Japan. During 2015-2019, A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses repeatedly become introduced into farms and reassorted with endemic H1N2 and H3N2 IAVs-S. H3N2 IAVs-S isolated during 2015-2019 formed a clade that originated from 1999-2000 human seasonal influenza viruses; this situation differs from previous reports, in which H3N2 IAVs-S derived from human seasonal influenza viruses were transmitted sporadically from humans to swine but then disappeared without becoming established within the pig population. At farms where IAVs-S were frequently isolated for at least 3 years, multiple introductions of IAVs-S with phylogenetically distinct HA genes occurred. In addition, at one farm, IAVs-S derived from a single introduction persisted for at least 3 years and carried no mutations at the deduced antigenic sites of the hemagglutinin protein except only one at the antigenic site (Sa). Our results extend our understanding regarding the status of IAVs-S currently circulating in Japan and how they genetically evolve at the farm level.Importance Understanding the current status of influenza A viruses of swine (IAVs-S) and their evolution at the farm level is important for controlling these pathogens. Efforts to monitor IAVs-S during 2015-2019 yielded H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2 viruses. H1 genes in Japanese swine formed unique clade in the classical swine H1 lineage of 1A.1, and H3 genes originating from 1999-2000 human seasonal influenza viruses appear to have become established among Japanese swine. A(H1N1)pdm09-derived H1 genes became introduced repeatedly and reassorted with endemic IAVs-S, resulting in various combinations of surface and internal genes among pig populations in Japan. At the farm level, multiple introductions of IAVs-S with phylogenetically distinct HA sequences occurred, or IAVs-S derived from a single introduction have persisted for at least 3 years with only a single mutation at the antigenic site of the HA protein. Continued monitoring of IAVs-S is necessary to update and maximize control strategies.
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