Seven serotypes (1, 2, 3, 4, 12, 15 and 16) of bluetongue virus were isolated from the blood of sheep and cattle in the People's Republic of China between 1986 and 1996. Six of these viruses were isolated in Yunnan province. The sheep from which serotypes 1 and 16 were isolated showed obvious signs of bluetongue disease, whereas the cattle from which serotypes 2, 3, 4, 12 and 15 were isolated were clinically normal. Phylogenetic analyses of these viruses indicate that they are more closely related to one another, and to an Australian strain of serotype 1, than they are to prototype strains of bluetongue virus serotypes 2, 10, 11,13 and 17 from the USA.
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