Genetic characterization of duck Tembusu virus in Thailand, 2015-2017: identification of a novel cluster.
Duck Tembusu virus (DTMUV) infected cases have increasingly been observed in several duck farms in Thailand since its first report in 2013. However, information on the genetic characteristic of DTMUVs recently circulating in ducks in Thailand is limited. In this study, we investigated the geographic distribution and genetic characteristic of DTMUVs recently circulating in ducks in Thailand during 2015-2017. Of the 288 clinical samples obtained from 89 ducks farms located in duck raising areas of Thailand, 65 samples (22.57%) of 34 duck farms (38.20%) were DTMUV positive. Our results demonstrated that DTMUV was extensively distributed in duck raising areas of Thailand. Phylogenetic analysis of the E and NS5 genes revealed that DTMUVs circulating in Thailand were divided into three distinct clusters, including cluster 1, subcluster 2.1 and a novel cluster 3. Among these three clusters, subcluster 2.1 was a predominant cluster of DTMUV circulating in duck populations in Thailand during 2015-2017. It is interesting to note that a novel cluster of DTMUV (cluster 3), which was genetically different from any of the previously reported DTMUV clusters, was first identified in this study. In conclusion, our data demonstrated the circulation of different clusters of DTMUV and the presence of a novel DTMUV cluster in ducks in Thailand. This study highlights the high genetic diversity of DTMUVs in Thailand and the necessity of the routine surveillance of DTMUV for early detection, prevention and control of newly emerging DTMUVs.