Detection of reassortant avian influenza A (H11N9) virus in wild birds in China.
Human infectious avian influenza virus (AIV) H7N9 emerged in China in 2013. The N9 gene of H7N9, which has the ability to cause death in humans, originated from an H11N9 influenza strain circulating in wild birds. To investigate the frequency and distribution of the N9 gene of the H11N9 and H7N9 influenza virus circulating in wild birds between 2006 and 2015, 35,604 samples were collected and tested. No H7N9 but four strains of the H11N9 subtype AIV were isolated, and phylogenetic analyses showed that the four H11N9 viruses were intra-subtype and inter-subtype reassortant viruses. A sequence analysis revealed that all six internal genes of A/wild bird/Anhui/L306/2014 (H11N9) originated from an H9N2 AIV isolated in Korea. The H9N2 strain, which is an inner gene donor reassorted with other subtypes, is a potential threat to poultry and even humans. It is necessary to increase monitoring of the emergence and spread of H11N9 AIV in wild birds.