Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) economically affects the global poultry industry causing respiratory and reproductive disorders. Considering the paucity of data on aMPV occurrence in European free-ranging avifauna, a molecular survey was conducted on wild birds of 23 species belonging to the orders Anseriformes, Charadriiformes or Passeriformes, captured alive and sampled in Northeast Italy as part of the national avian influenza virus (AIV) surveillance activities. A total of 492 oropharyngeal swabs, collected from 2007–2010, all AIV-negative, were screened from aMPV by subtype-specific qRT-PCR. An aMPV-C strain, named aMPV/C/IT/Wigeon/758/07, was found in a wintering young Eurasian wigeon (Mareca penelope) sampled in November 2007. The matrix, fusion, and attachment glycoprotein genes of the detected strain were subsequently amplified by specific independent RT-PCRs, then sequenced, and compared in a phylogenetic framework with known aMPV homologous sequences retrieved from GenBank. Close genetic relationships were found between the aMPV/C/IT/Wigeon/758/07 strain and subtype C Eurasian lineage strains isolated in the late 1990s in French domestic ducks, suggesting epidemiological links. Eurasian wigeons are medium/long-range migrant dabbling ducks that move along the Black Sea/Mediterranean flyway; our finding might, therefore, be related to migratory bridges between countries. To our knowledge, this is the first molecular evidence of the occurrence of aMPV subtype C in Italy and backdates the aMPV-C circulation to 2007. Moreover, the results suggest the susceptibility of Eurasian wigeons to aMPV. Broader investigations are needed to assess the role of wild ducks and the significance of the wildfowl/poultry interface in aMPV-C epidemiology. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS Wild birds live-captured in Italy were tested for aMPV detection and characterization. aMPV-C Eurasian lineage was found for the first time in a wintering Eurasian wigeon. Migratory birds could be involved in the aMPV epidemiology.

First detection of avian metapneumovirus subtype C Eurasian lineage in a Eurasian wigeon (Mareca penelope) wintering in Northeastern Italy: an additional hint on the role of migrating birds in the viral epidemiology

Tucciarone C. M.;Franzo G.;Cecchinato M.;Legnardi M.;
2022

Abstract

Avian metapneumovirus (aMPV) economically affects the global poultry industry causing respiratory and reproductive disorders. Considering the paucity of data on aMPV occurrence in European free-ranging avifauna, a molecular survey was conducted on wild birds of 23 species belonging to the orders Anseriformes, Charadriiformes or Passeriformes, captured alive and sampled in Northeast Italy as part of the national avian influenza virus (AIV) surveillance activities. A total of 492 oropharyngeal swabs, collected from 2007–2010, all AIV-negative, were screened from aMPV by subtype-specific qRT-PCR. An aMPV-C strain, named aMPV/C/IT/Wigeon/758/07, was found in a wintering young Eurasian wigeon (Mareca penelope) sampled in November 2007. The matrix, fusion, and attachment glycoprotein genes of the detected strain were subsequently amplified by specific independent RT-PCRs, then sequenced, and compared in a phylogenetic framework with known aMPV homologous sequences retrieved from GenBank. Close genetic relationships were found between the aMPV/C/IT/Wigeon/758/07 strain and subtype C Eurasian lineage strains isolated in the late 1990s in French domestic ducks, suggesting epidemiological links. Eurasian wigeons are medium/long-range migrant dabbling ducks that move along the Black Sea/Mediterranean flyway; our finding might, therefore, be related to migratory bridges between countries. To our knowledge, this is the first molecular evidence of the occurrence of aMPV subtype C in Italy and backdates the aMPV-C circulation to 2007. Moreover, the results suggest the susceptibility of Eurasian wigeons to aMPV. Broader investigations are needed to assess the role of wild ducks and the significance of the wildfowl/poultry interface in aMPV-C epidemiology. RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS Wild birds live-captured in Italy were tested for aMPV detection and characterization. aMPV-C Eurasian lineage was found for the first time in a wintering Eurasian wigeon. Migratory birds could be involved in the aMPV epidemiology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3447457
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