The evolution and genetic diversity of avian influenza A(H9N2) viruses in Cambodia, 2015 – 2016

Annika Suttie, Songha Tok, Sokhoun Yann, Ponnarath Keo, Srey Viseth Horm, Merryn Roe, Matthew Kaye, San Sorn, Davun Holl, Sothyra Tum, Ian G. Barr, Aeron C. Hurt, Andrew R. Greenhill, Erik A. Karlsson, Dhanasekaran Vijaykrishna, Yi Mo Deng, Philippe Dussart, Paul F. Horwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Low pathogenic A(H9N2) subtype avian influenza viruses (AIVs) were originally detected in Cambodian poultry in 2013, and now circulate endemically. We sequenced and characterised 64 A(H9N2) AIVs detected in Cambodian poultry (chickens and ducks) from January 2015 to May 2016. All A(H9) viruses collected in 2015 and 2016 belonged to a new BJ/94like h9-4.2.5 sub-lineage that emerged in the region during or after 2013, and was distinct to previously detected Cambodian viruses. Overall, there was a reduction of genetic diversity of H9N2 since 2013, however two genotypes were detected in circulation, P and V, with extensive reassortment between the viruses. Phylogenetic analysis showed a close relationship between A(H9N2) AIVs detected in Cambodian and Vietnamese poultry, highlighting cross-border trade/movement of live, domestic poultry between the countries. Wild birds may also play a role in A(H9N2) transmission in the region. Some genes of the Cambodian isolates frequently clustered with zoonotic A(H7N9), A(H9N2) and A(H10N8) viruses, suggesting a common ecology. Molecular analysis showed 100% of viruses contained the hemagglutinin (HA) Q226L substitution, which favours mammalian receptor type binding. All viruses were susceptible to the neuraminidase inhibitor antivirals; however, 41% contained the matrix (M2) S31N substitution associated with resistance to adamantanes. Overall, Cambodian A(H9N2) viruses possessed factors known to increase zoonotic potential, and therefore their evolution should be continually monitored.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0225428
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2019


  • poultry
  • phylogenetic analysis
  • viral pathogens
  • zoonoses
  • phylogenetics
  • bird genomics
  • antimicrobial resistance
  • viral genomics

Cite this