Avian influenza is endemic in some species of wild birds and is generally believed to cause only an asymptomatic infection. These viruses are routinely transmitted from this wild bird reservoir to poultry in many areas all over the world. Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) was previously reported in Egypt from different types of wild birds. This report describes the isolation and genetic characterization of H7N7 LPAI virus from a black kite (Milvus migrans), the first reported from this species, during surveillance done on wild birds in 2005. The black kite is a migratory bird that has breeding habitat in Europe and migrates in the winter to North Africa and the Middle East. Eight samples were collected in South Sinai, Egypt, and tested by virus isolation in embryonating chicken eggs. One sample had positive hemagglutination activity after the second passage in specific-pathogen-free embryos. Virus identification and characterization were done and the isolate was confirmed as H7N7 LPAI. The sequence data showed that this isolate was most closely related to European H7 strains isolated from domestic and wild birds.
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Vol. 54 • No. s1