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Looking back: a genetic retrospective study of Brazilian Orf virus isolates
  1. J. S. Abrahão, PhD, Professor
  1. I. A. Borges, MSc
  1. C. Mazur, PhD, Professor
  1. Departamento de Microbiologia e Imunologia Veterinária, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, BR465, Km07, Boa Esperança, Seropedica, Rio de Janeiro 23890-000, Brazil
  1. Z. I. P. Lobato, PhD, Professor
  1. Departamento de Medicina Veterinária Preventiva, Escola de Veterinária, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627, Belo Horizonte, MG 31270-901, Brazil
  1. P. C. P. Ferreira, PhD, Professor
  1. C. A. Bonjardim, PhD, Professor
  1. G. S. Trindade, PhD, Professor
  1. E. G. Kroon, PhD, Professor
  1. Laboratório de Vírus, Departamento de Microbiologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Av. Antônio Carlos, 6627, Belo Horizonte, MG 31270-901, Brazil
  1. E-mail for correspondence: jonatas.abrahao{at}


Orf virus (ORFV), the prototype of the genus Parapoxvirus, is the aetiological agent of contagious ecthyma (CE), a pustular dermatitis that afflicts domestic and wild small ruminants. CE is one of the most widespread poxvirus diseases in the world, causing public health impacts. Outbreaks of ORFV have been observed in all geographical regions of Brazil, affecting ovine and caprine herds. The origins, epidemiology and identity of Brazilian ORFVs are unknown, and no comparative or phylogenetic studies of these viruses have been performed. In the present study, we revisited CE outbreaks which occurred until 32 years ago, and we assessed, genetically, five viral isolates. We performed the sequencing and analysis of the three ORFV molecular markers: B2L gene, virus interferon resistance gene (VIR) and the vascular endothelial growth factor gene. Nucleotide and amino acid analysis of the analysed genes demonstrated that Brazilian ORFVs do not form a unique cluster, and presented more similarity to other worldwide ORFV samples than with each other. These data raise the questions of whether there are different worldwide ORFVs circulating in Brazil, or if all the Brazilian ORFV samples are of the same virus taken at distinct time points.

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