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Genetic diversity of pestivirus in ruminants in Northern Ireland

M. P. Guelbenzu-Gonzalo, L. Cooper, C. Brown, S. Leinster, R. O'Neill, L. Doyle, D. A. Graham

THE genus pestivirus includes bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) types 1 and 2, border disease virus and classical swine fever. The two recognised genotypes of BVDV (BVDV-1 and BVDV-2) are divided into subtypes based on phylogenetic analysis, namely a-p for BVDV-1 and a-c for BVDV-2. Knowledge of the predominant subtypes in a given region is necessary to ensure that suitable diagnostic tests are used and to assess the protection that vaccines will give. This paper aimed to look at the genetic diversity of ruminant pestivirus strains in Northern Ireland, and the role of imported cattle and sheep in driving diversity.

Three studies were conducted to assess genetic diversity. First, pestiviruses in 152 serum samples that had previously tested positive for BVDV between 1999 and 2008 were genotyped by RT-PCR. Second, the genetic heterogeneity of pestiviruses from 91 serum samples collected between 2008 and 2011 was investigated by phylogenetic analysis of a 288-base-pair portion of the 5′ untranslated region (UTR). Third, blood samples from 839 bovine and 4437 ovine animals imported in 2010 and 2011 were tested for pestiviral RNA. Analysis of animal movement was carried out alongside the phylogenetic analysis of the strains to identify any links between isolates and …

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