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Natural transmission of foot-and-mouth disease virus from African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) to cattle in a wildlife area of Zimbabwe
  1. PS Dawe,
  2. FO Flanagan,
  3. RL Madekurozwa,
  4. KJ Sorensen,
  5. EC Anderson,
  6. CM Foggin,
  7. NP Ferris and
  8. NJ Knowles
  1. Department of Veterinary Services, Veterinary Research Laboratory, Harare, Zimbabwe.


An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) occurred during April 1991 in a trypanosomiasis sentinel cattle herd by the Rifa River to the east of Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe. Despite the cattle having been vaccinated biannually for the previous five years the disease was severe. The viruses isolated from the affected animals were typed as FMD virus type SAT 1. Free-living African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) which had been using the same watering place as the affected cattle were sampled and FMD type SAT 1 virus was isolated. Partial nucleotide sequencing of the gene coding for the capsid protein 1D (VP1) of one of the viruses isolated from cattle and two of the viruses isolated from buffalo demonstrated a close relationship between the three viruses. Since no other cattle were present in the area and no outbreaks of SAT 1 had occurred in Zimbabwe since 1989, it was concluded that the disease had been transmitted from buffalo to cattle.

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