Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of the H5N8/H5N5 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus strains detected in the Czech Republic during an outbreak in 2017. Network analysis of the H5 Hemagglutinin (HA) from 99% of the outbreak localities suggested that the diversity of the Czech H5N8/H5N5 viruses was influenced by two basic forces: local microevolution and independent incursions. The geographical occurrence of the central node H5 HA sequences revealed three eco-regions, which apparently played an important role in the origin and further spread of the local H5N8/HPAI variants across the country. A plausible explanation for the observed pattern of diversity is also provided.
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