During the surveillance of avian influenza, an H5N2 influenza A virus was isolated from a cloacal swab sample of an apparently healthy chicken in Taiwan in October 2008. It was found that the HA of the virus had a pair of dibasic amino acid residues at the cleavage site, which might be a marker of highly pathogenic avian influenza virus. However, the intravenous pathogenicity index of the isolate was 0.89, indicating that the virus was approaching high pathogenicity in chickens. Virus isolation was negative in 2916 birds from 146 farms in a 3-km radius around the farm where the virus was isolated. Genetic analysis of the eight segments of the isolate indicated that the isolated virus was a reassortant whose HA and NA gene segments belonged to the American lineage and internal genes to the Eurasian lineage.
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Vol. 54 • No. 2