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Influenza D Virus in Cattle, France, 2011–2014 - Volume 21, Number 2—February 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

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Influenza D Virus in Cattle, France, 2011–2014 - Volume 21, Number 2—February 2015 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC


Volume 21, Number 2—February 2015


Influenza D Virus in Cattle, France, 2011–2014

Mariette F. DucatezComments to Author , Claire Pelletier, and Gilles Meyer
Author affiliations: French National Institute for Agronomy Research (INRA) and Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire (INP-ENVT), Toulouse, France (M.F. Ducatez, G. Meyer)Laboratoire Départemental d'Analyses (LDA71), Département de Saône-et-Loire, Mâcon, France (C. Pelletier)


A new influenza virus, genus D, isolated in US pigs and cattle, has also been circulating in cattle in France. It was first identified there in 2011, and an increase was detected in 2014. The virus genome in France is 94%–99% identical to its US counterpart, which suggests intercontinental spillover.
Recent studies in the United States have identified a new genus within the family Orthomyxoviridae, tentatively named Influenzavirus D (1). The new pathogen, C/swine/Oklahoma/1334/2011 (C/OK), was first identified in pigs with influenza-like illness and was only moderately related to previously characterized influenza C viruses (≈50% overall homology between C/OK virus sequence and its closest related sequences). Like human influenza C virus, C/OK harbored 7 genomic segments, whereas influenza A and B viruses have 8. C/OK virus genome was more distant from influenza C virus genomes than influenza A genomes are from influenza B virus genomes. In hemagglutination-inhibition assays, cross-reactivity between antibodies against C/OK virus and human influenza C virus was lacking, which again suggests a new genus in the family Orthomyxoviridae (2). C/OK-like viruses were also isolated from cattle in the United States in 2013 (1) and China in 2014 (2).
C/OK was shown to replicate in ferrets, the animal model of choice for studying influenza virus in humans, suggesting that humans could be infected with C/OK-like viruses. Thus, the host range and geographic distribution of C/OK-like viruses (influenza D virus) needs to be investigated. Because cattle have been suggested as the reservoir for this novel influenza virus (1), we screened bovine samples in France for influenza D virus and characterized the virus from positive specimens.

The Study

Bovine lung fragments, deep nasal swab specimens, and trans-tracheal aspiration liquids were submitted to the Laboratoire Départemental d’Analyses de Saône-et-Loire (Mâcon, France) and tested for classical respiratory pathogens. The Unité Mixte de Recherche, Interactions Hôtes—Agents Pathogènes 1225 (Toulouse, France), received and tested 134 samples by using real-time reverse transcription PCR for influenza D virus as previously described (3). We tested 25 archived samples per year for 2010–2013 and 34 samples collected during January–March 2014. Six (4.5%) were positive for influenza D virus: 1 each in 2011 and 2012 and 4 in 2014; cycle threshold (Ct) values ranged from 15 to 35 (Table 1). Co-infections were detected with Pasteurella multocidaMannheimia haemolyticaHistophilus somni, bovine respiratory syncytial virus, and/or bovine herpesvirus 1 in 4 of the influenza D–positive specimens. Two samples (nos. 5831 and 5920, collected in 2014) were negative for all tested respiratory pathogens, despite reports of clinical signs in the animals (Table 1).

Dr Ducatez is a scientist at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research in Toulouse. Her research interests include the evolution of influenza virus strains at the animal–human interface.


We thank the Plateau de Génomique GeT-Purpan, Unité Différenciation épidermique et auto-immunité rhumatoïde, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5165, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Université Paul Sabatier, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Purpan, Toulouse (France) for the sequencing work.
This work was supported by the RESPICARE grant of the Institut Carnot Santé Animale and by the French Ministry of Agriculture.


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Suggested citation for this article: Ducatez MF, Pelletier C, Meyer G. Influenza D virus in cattle, France, 2011–2014. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 2015 Feb [date cited].
DOI: 10.3201/eid2102.141449

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