A newly developed tetraplex real-time RT-PCR for simultaneous screening of influenza virus types A, B, C and D
BACKGROUND:Human- or avian-to-swine transmissions have founded several autonomously circulating influenza A virus (IAV) lineages in swine populations that cause economically important respiratory disease. Little is known on other human influenza virus types, like B (IBV) and C (ICV) in European swine, and of the recently detected novel animal influenza virus type D (IDV). OBJECTIVES:Development of a cost-effective diagnostic tool for large-scale surveillance programmes targeting all four influenza virus types. METHODS:An influenza ABCD tetraplex real-time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) was developed in the frame of this study. A selection of reference virus strains and more than 4000 porcine samples from a passive IAV surveillance programme in European swine with acute respiratory disease were examined. RESULTS:Two IBV, a single IDV but no ICV infections were identified by tetraplex RT-qPCR. IBV and IDV results were confirmed by conventional RT-PCR and partial sequence analysis. CONCLUSIONS:The tetraplex RT-qPCR proved fit for purpose as a sensitive, specific and high-throughput tool to study influenza virus transmission at the human-animal interface. Complementing close-meshed active virological and serological surveillance is required to better understand the true incidence and prevalence of influenza virus type B, C and D infections in swine.