Genetic diversity of the H5N1 viruses in live bird markets, Indonesia

Background: The live bird market (LBM) plays an important role in the dynamic evolution of the avian influenza H5N1 virus.
Objectives: The main objective of this study was to monitor the genetic diversity of the H5N1 viruses in LBMs in Indonesia.
Methods: Therefore, the disease surveillance was conducted in the area of Banten, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Jakarta Province, Indonesia from 2014 to 2019. Subsequently, the genetic characterization of the H5N1 viruses was performed by sequencing all 8 segments of the viral genome.
Results: As a result, the H5N1 viruses were detected in most of LBMs in both bird´ cloacal and environmental samples, in which about 35% of all samples were positive for influenza A and, subsequently, about 52% of these samples were positive for H5 subtyping. Based on the genetic analyses of 14 viruses isolated from LBMs, genetic diversities of the H5N1 viruses were identified including clades 2.1.3 and 2.3.2 as typical predominant groups as well as reassortant viruses between these 2 clades.
Conclusions: As a consequence, zoonotic transmission to humans in the market could be occurred from the exposure of infected birds and/or contaminated environments. Moreover, new virus variants could emerge from the LBM environment. Therefore, improving pandemic preparedness raised great concerns related to the zoonotic aspect of new influenza variants because of its high adaptivity and efficiency for human infection.