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Genetic Characterization and Zoonotic Potential of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus A(H5N6/H5N5), Germany, 2017–2018

We genetically characterized highly pathogenic avian influenza virus A(H5N6) clade 2.3.4.4b isolates found in Germany in 2017–2018 and assessed pathogenicity of representative H5N5 and H5N6 viruses in ferrets. These viruses had low pathogenicity; however, continued characterization of related isolates is warranted because of their high potential for reassortment.

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