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Genetic characterization of African swine fever virus isolates from soft ticks at the wildlife/domestic interface in Mozambique and identification of a novel genotype

Quembo C.J., Jori F., Vosloo W., Heath L.. 2017. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases : 12 p..

African swine fever virus (ASFV) is one of the most threatening infectious diseases of pigs. There are not sufficient data to indicate the importance of the sylvatic cycle in the spread and maintenance of the disease locally and potentially, globally. To assess the capacity to maintain ASF in the environment, we investigated the presence of soft tickreservoirs of ASFV in Gorongosa National Park (GNP) and its surrounding villages. A total of 1,658 soft ticks were recovered from warthog burrows and pig pens at the wildlife/livestock interface of the GNP and viral DNA was confirmed by nested PCR in 19% of Ornithodoros porcinus porcinus and 15% of O. p. domesticus. However, isolation of ASFV was only achieved in approximately 50% of the PCR-positive samples with nineteen haemadsorbing virus isolates recovered. These were genotyped using a combination of partial sequencing of the B646L gene (p72) and analysis of the central variable region (CVR) of the B602L gene. Eleven isolates were classified as belonging to genotype II and homologous to contemporary isolates from southern Africa, the Indian Ocean and eastern Europe. Three isolates grouped within genotype V and were similar to previous isolates from Mozambique and Malawi. The remaining five isolates constituted a new, previously unidentified genotype, designated genotype XXIV. This work confirms for the first time that the virus currently circulating in eastern Europe is likely to have a wildlife origin, and that the large diversity of ASFV maintained in wildlife areas can act as a permanent sources of different strains for the domestic pig value chain in Mozambique and beyond its boundaries. Their genetic similarity to ASFV strains currently spreading across Europe justifies the need to continue studying the sylvatic cycle in this African country and other parts of southern Africa in order to identify potential hot spots of ASF emergence and target surveillance and control efforts. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : mozambique

Thématique : Maladies des animaux

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