J Vet Sci.  2017 Mar;18(1):89-94. 10.4142/jvs.2017.18.1.89.

Phylogeographical characterization of H5N8 viruses isolated from poultry and wild birds during 2014–2016 in South Korea

  • 1Avian Disease Research Division, Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency, Gimcheon 39660, Korea. leeyj700@korea.kr


During 2014-2016 HPAI outbreak in South Korea, H5N8 viruses have been mostly isolated in western areas of the country, which provide wintering habitats for wild birds and have a high density of poultry. Analysis of a total of 101 Korean isolates revealed that primitive H5N8 viruses (C0 group) have evolved into multiple genetic subgroups appearing from various epidemiological sources, namely, the viruses circulating in poultry farms (C1 and C5) and those reintroduced by migratory birds in late 2014 (C2 and C4). No C3 groups were detected. The results may explain the possible reasons of the recent long-term persistence of H5N8 viruses in South Korea, and help to develop the effective measures in controlling HPAI viruses.


H5N8 subtype influenza A virus; South Korea; genetic variation; poultry; wild birds

MeSH Terms

Animals, Wild
Influenza A Virus, H5N8 Subtype/*isolation & purification
Influenza in Birds/*epidemiology/virology
Poultry Diseases/*epidemiology/virology
Republic of Korea/epidemiology


  • Fig. 1 Geographical and chronological distribution of H5N8 viruses in wild birds and poultry. (A) Bars represent the number of H5N8 virus isolates in wild birds (upper) and poultry (lower) according to the provinces of South Korea between January 2014 and April 2016. The map of South Korea indicates the provinces and species in which H5N8 viruses were isolated: wild birds (green), poultry (red), and wild birds and poultry (orange). JB, Jeonbuk; JN, Jeonnam; CB, Chungbuk; CN, Chungnam; GG, Gyeonggi; GN, Gyeongnam; JJ, Jeju; SU, Seoul; SJ, Sejong; GJ, Gwangju; IC, Incheon; GW, Gangwon; US, Ulsan; DG, Daegu; and GB, Gyeongbuk. (B) Bars represent the number of H5N8 virus isolates in wild birds (upper) and poultry (lower) according to time and virus subgroups from January 2014 to April 2016. Red, C0 subgroup; orange, C1 subgroup; green, C2 subgroup; purple, C4 subgroup; and blue, C5 subgroup.

  • Fig. 2 The estimated maximum clade credibility (MCC) phylogeny of the hemagglutination (HA) gene of H5N8 in Korea and of H5 worldwide (all variants of H5 clade Each subgroup is marked on the right and the C0 group is labeled in red. Branch lengths represent time, and colors represent location. Red, Asia; green, Europe; blue, North America; and purple, South Korea. Numbers at the nodes show posterior probabilities >0.7.

Cited by  2 articles

Evolution, global spread, and pathogenicity of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5Nx clade
Dong-Hun Lee, Kateri Bertran, Jung-Hoon Kwon, David E. Swayne
J Vet Sci. 2017;18(S1):269-280.    doi: 10.4142/jvs.2017.18.S1.269.

Recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses in South Korea
Hye Kwon Kim, Dae Gwin Jeong, Sun-Woo Yoon
Clin Exp Vaccine Res. 2017;6(2):95-103.    doi: 10.7774/cevr.2017.6.2.95.


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