Asian-lineage H5 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) have caused recurrent outbreaks in poultry and wild birds. In January 2014, H5N8 HPAIV caused outbreaks in South Korea and subsequently spread to East Asia, Europe, and North America. We report the isolation of an H5N8 HPAIV strain from wild birds in Seoul, the most-developed city in South Korea. We analyzed the complete genome sequence of this isolate and estimated its origin using a phylogenetic analysis. The Seoul H5N8 isolate clustered phylogenetically with strains isolated from migratory wild birds but was distinct from Korean poultry isolates. This H5N8 virus was likely introduced into the urbanized city by migratory wild birds. Therefore, wild bird habitats in urbanized areas should be carefully monitored for HPAIV.
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Vol. 53 • No. 3