In recent years, avian influenza virus (AIV) and Newcastle disease virus (NDV) have caused large-scale outbreaks in many countries, including Egypt. The culling and vaccination strategies have failed to control both viruses in Egypt. In this study, we investigated the outbreaks of nervous manifestations and deaths in pigeons between 2013 and 2015. The H5N1 subtype of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus and pigeon paramyxovirus-1, an antigenic variant of NDV, were found to be the cause; AIV and pigeon paramyxovirus-1 were isolated from 61.3% (19/31) and 67.8% (21/31) of tested pigeons, respectively. Co-infection with both viruses was detected in 51.6% of pigeons (16/31). The AIV sequences showed PQGEKRRKKR/GLF motif at the haemagglutinin gene cleavage site, which is typical of the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype. The phylogenetic tree showed that the highly pathogenic avian influenza belonged to clade 220.127.116.11. The NDV sequences carried one of the three motifs, 112GKQGRL117, 112KRQKRF117 or 112RRQKRF117, at the fusion protein cleavage site and were classified as genotypes I, VI and II in NDV-class II, respectively. This indicated that different genotypes of NDV can circulate simultaneously among pigeons. Further analysis revealed the clustering of some sequences in sub-genotypes Ia and VIb.2. To the best of our knowledge, these sub-genotypes have not been previously reported from pigeons in Egypt. Our results should serve as a base for future studies on both viruses in Egypt.
- cleavage site