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Emerg Infect Dis. 2009 Sep;15(9):1431-7. doi: 10.3201/eid1509.080759.

Recent ancestry of Kyasanur Forest disease virus.

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  • 1National Institute of Virology, Pune, India.


Kyasanur Forest disease virus (KFDV) is enzootic to India and maintained in ticks, mammals, and birds. It causes severe febrile illness in humans and was first recognized in 1957 associated with a high number of deaths among monkeys in Kyasanur Forest. Genetic analysis of 48 viruses isolated in India during 1957-2006 showed low diversity (1.2%). Bayesian coalescence analysis of these sequences and those of KFDVs from Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China estimated that KFDVs have evolved at a mean rate of approximately 6.4 x 10(-4) substitutions/site/year, which is similar to rates estimated for mosquito-borne flaviviruses. KFDVs were estimated to have shared a common ancestor in approximately 1942, fifteen years before identification of the disease in India. These data are consistent with the view that KFD represented a newly emerged disease when first recognized. Recent common ancestry of KFDVs from India and Saudi Arabia, despite their large geographic separation, indicates long-range movement of virus, possibly by birds.

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