Clin Exp Vaccine Res.  2013 Jan;2(1):26-33.

H9N2 avian influenza virus in Korea: evolution and vaccination

  • 1Avian Disease Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, Konkuk University, Seoul, Korea.


Low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) H9N2 viruses have been circulating in the Eurasian poultry industry resulting in great economic losses due to declined egg production and moderate to high mortality. In Korea, H9N2 LPAI was first documented in 1996 and it caused serious economic loss in the Korean poultry industry, including layer and broiler breeder farms. Since then, the H9N2 viruses that belong to the Korea group have been prevalent in chickens and have continuously evolved through reassortment in live bird markets. To control LPAI outbreaks, since 2007, the Korean veterinary authority has permitted the use of the inactivated oil adjuvant H9N2 LPAI vaccine. Although only oil-based inactivated vaccine using the egg-passaged vaccine virus strain (A/chicken/Korea/01310/2001) is permitted and used, several new technology vaccines have been recently suggested for the development of cost-effective and highly immunogenic vaccines. In addition, several different differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA) strategies have been suggested using appropriate vaccines and companion serologic tests for discriminating between naturally infected and vaccinated animals. Recent reports demonstrated that the Korean LPAI H9N2 virus underwent antigenic drift and evolved into distinct antigenic groups and thus could escape from vaccine protection. Therefore, improved vaccination strategies including periodic updates of vaccine seed strains are required to achieve efficient control and eradication of LPAI H9N2 in Korea. Further, vaccination should be part of an overall integrated strategy to control the disease, including continued nation-wide surveillance, farm biosecurity, and DIVA strategy.


Avian influenza virus; H9N2; Vaccine; Evolution
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