Clinical, epidemiological and virological characteristics of the first detected human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) virus

Rusheng Zhang, Tianmu Chen, Xinhua Ou, Ruchun Liu, Yang Yang , Wen Ye, Jingfang Chen, Dong Yao, Biancheng Sun, Xixing Zhang, Jianxiang Zhou, Yan Sun, Faming Chen, Shi-Ping Wang

Infection, Genetics and Evolution

June 1, 2016


A human infection with novel avian influenza A H5N6 virus emerged in Changsha city, China in February, 2014. This is the first detected human case among all human cases identified from 2014 to early 2016. We obtained and summarized clinical, epidemiological, and virological data from this patient. Complete genome of the virus was determined and compared to other avian influenza viruses via the construction of phylogenetic trees using the neighbor-joining approach. A girl aged five and half years developed fever and mild respiratory symptoms on Feb. 16, 2014 and visited hospital on Feb. 17. Throat swab specimens were obtained from the patient and a novel reassortant avian influenza A H5N6 virus was detected. All eight viral gene segments were of avian origin. The hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) gene segments were closely related to A/duck/Sichuan/NCXN11/2014(H5N1) and A/chicken/Jiangxi/12782/2014(H10N6) viruses, respectively. The six internal genes were homologous to avian influenza A (H5N2) viruses isolated in duck from Jiangxi in China. This H5N6 virus has not gained genetic mutations necessary for human infection and was suggested to be sensitive to neuraminidase inhibitors, but resistant to adamantanes. Epidemiological investigation of the exposure history of the patient found that a live poultry market could be the source place of infection and the incubation period was 2–5 days. This novel reassortant Avian influenza A(H5N6) virus could be low pathogenic in humans. The prevalence and genetic evolution of this virus should be closely monitored.