The complete coding regions of the surface glycoproteins, nucleoprotein (NP), polymerase 2 (PB2), and matrix (M) of A/turkey/214845/02 and A/turkey/220158/99 (H7N3) low pathogenicity avian influenza (LPAI) viruses isolated in October 2002 in Italy were amplified and sequenced to determine the epidemiologic relationships with an A/turkey/Italy/4603/99 (H7N1/4603/99) LPAI virus isolated during the 1999–2001 epizootic in Italy. The hemagglutinin (HA) of H7N3 viruses showed 97.8% nucleotide similarity with A/turkey/Italy/4603/99 (H7N1), and NP, M, and PB2 gene similarities were 93.6%, 98.2%, and 96.2%, respectively. Phylogenetic analyses of HA, PB2, and M genes showed that H7N3 and H7N1 viruses were closely related. Sequence analysis revealed a 23 amino acid deletion in the stalk of the neuraminidase of H7N3 viruses and a unique deletion of amino acid glycine in position 17 in the NP gene of H7N1 virus.
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Vol. 48 • No. 2