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Virus Res. 2003 Jun;93(2):159-67.

VP2 gene phylogenetic characterization of field isolates of African horsesickness virus serotype 7 circulating in South Africa during the time of the 1999 African horsesickness outbreak in the Western Cape.

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Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, Private Bag X5, 0110, Onderstepoort, South Africa.


We present the first VP2-gene phylogenetic analysis of African horsesickness (AHS) viruses within a serotype. Thirteen AHSV 7 isolates were obtained from cases that occurred in South Africa during 1998-1999, and three were historical AHSV 7 isolates. The goals were to start a database of isolates of known location and time of isolation and to determine if we could identify the origin of an AHS outbreak in the surveillance area in the Western Cape. We prepared full-length cDNA copies of the VP2-genes of the isolates. Nucleic acid sequence data of a 786 bp region was used to characterize the genetic relationships between the isolates. The nucleic acid identities between the isolates ranged from 95.5 to 100%. Isolates from common geographical regions grouped together. Characterization of field isolates revealed the presence of two AHSV 7 lineages in South Africa during this period. The grouping of the viruses into two clades accurately reflected the geographical groupings of the isolates. The average nucleic acid divergence between the clades was 4.3%. Within the clades the divergence was 0.5 and 0.1%, respectively. The data suggests that the AHS outbreak in the Western Cape could have been an incursion from the Kwazulu Natal Province.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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