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In order to gain insight into the degree of genetic interspecies variability of canine distemper virus (CDV) infections, phylogenetic characterisation was performed on the complete haemagglutinin gene of the first three Greek CDV isolates derived from foxes. The homology of the nucleotide and amino acid sequences between the three Greek isolates was 97.2–99.4 per cent and 96–98.5 per cent, respectively. Two of the Greek CDV isolates from foxes clustered together with recent European strains derived from dogs, while the third one clustered in a different clade along with ferret strain 1493. The homology of the nucleotide and amino acid sequences between the Greek isolates and most of the vaccine strains was 92–93.1 per cent and 89.9–92.1 per cent, respectively. This is the first report of genetic analysis of CDV derived from red foxes in Greece. Interspecies circulation of CDV, especially among canidae populations in Europe is indicated with foxes acting as potential reservoir. Hence, further genetic characterisation studies are needed to address this issue in order to establish effective surveillance.
Canine distemper virus (CDV) is a morbillivirus (family Paramyxoviridae) with a host spectrum comprising dogs and other carnivores (Adaszek and others 2009, Zhao and others 2010), non-carnivores and marine mammals (Harris and others 2008). CDV cases in foxes are numerous and distemper-like neurological signs and histological lesions have been described (Davidson and others 1992). Seroprevalence of CDV in fox populations ranged from 4 per cent to 17 per cent in various studies (Frolich and others 2000, Miller and others 2000, …