Diversity of influenza A viruses retrieved from respiratory disease outbreaks and subclinically infected herds in Spain (2017–2019)

Silvana Sosa Portugal*, Martí Cortey, Montserrat Tello, Carlos Casanovas, Susana Mesonero-Escuredo, Sergio Barrabés, Pilar Pineda, Silke Wacheck, Gerard Martín-Valls, Enric Mateu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The present study was aimed to assess the diversity of influenza A viruses (IAV) circulating in pig farms in the Iberian Peninsula. The study included two different situations: farms suffering respiratory disease outbreaks compatible with IAV (n = 211) and randomly selected farms without overt respiratory disease (n = 19). Initially, the presence of IAV and lineage determination was assessed by qRT-PCR using nasal swabs. IAV was confirmed in 145 outbreaks (68.7%), mostly in nurseries (53/145; 36.5%). Subtyping by RT-qPCR was possible in 94 of those cases being H1avN2hu (33.6%), H1avN1av (24.3%) and H1huN2hu (18.7%), the most common lineages. H3huN2hu and H1pdmN1pdm represented 7.5% and 6.5% of the cases, respectively. As for the randomly selected farms, 15/19 (78.9%) were positive for IAV. Again, the virus was mostly found in nurseries and H1avN2hu was the predominant lineage. Virus isolation in MDCK cells was attempted from positive cases. Sixty of the isolates were fully sequenced with Illumina MiSeq®. Within those 60 isolates, the most frequent genotypes had internal genes of avian origin, and these were D (19/60; 31.7%) and A (11/60; 18.3%), H1avN2hu and H1avN1av, respectively. In addition, seven previously unreported genotypes were identified. In two samples, more than one H or N were found and it was not possible to precisely establish their genotypes. A great diversity was observed in the phylogenetic analysis. Notably, four H3 sequences clustered with human isolates from 2004–05 (Malaysia and Denmark) that were considered uncommon in pigs. Overall, this study indicates that IAV is a very common agent in respiratory disease outbreaks in Spanish pig farms. The genetic diversity of this virus is continuously expanding with clear changes in the predominant subtypes and lineages in relatively short periods of time. The current genotyping scheme has to be enlarged to include the new genotypes that could be found in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalTransboundary and emerging diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • epidemiology
  • influenza A
  • lineages
  • pig
  • sequencing


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