Emergence of a novel reassortant strain of bluetongue serotype 6 in israel, 2017: Clinical manifestations of the disease and molecular characterization

Natalia Golender*, Avi Eldar, Marcelo Ehrlich, Yevgeny Khinich, Gabriel Kenigswald, Joseph Seffi Varsano, A. Abr, Itzik Abramovitz, Itay Assis, Ily Shlamovitz, Eitan Tiomkin, T. Tiomkin, Benny Sharir, Velizar Y. Bumbarov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Reassortment contributes to the evolution of RNA viruses with segmented genomes, including Bluetongue virus (BTV). Recently, co-circulation of natural and vaccine BTV variants in Europe, and their ensuing reassortment, were proposed to promote appearance of novel European BTV strains, with potential implications for pathogenicity, spread and vaccination policies. Similarly, the geographical features of the Mediterranean basin, which spans over portions of three continents, may facilitate the appearance of clinically relevant reassortants via co-circulation of BTV strains of African, Asian and European origins. In August-October 2017, BTV serotype 6 (BTV-6) was identified in young animals exhibiting classical clinical signs of Bluetongue (BT) at Israeli sheep and cattle farms. Sequencing and pairwise analysis of this Israeli BTV-6 isolate revealed the closest sequence homology of its serotype-defining Segment 2 was with that of South African reference BTV-6 strain 5011 (93.88% identity). In contrast, the other viral segments showed highest homology (97.0%–99.47% identity) with BTV-3, -4 and -9 of Mediterranean and African origins. Specifically, four viral segments were nearly identical (99.13%–99.47%), with Tunisian and Italian BTV-3 strains (TUN2016 and SAD2018, correspondingly). Together, our data suggest that Mediterranean co-circulation and reassortment of BTV-3 and BTV-6 drove the emergence of a novel and virulent BTV-6 strain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number633
JournalViruses
Volume11
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Keywords

  • Bluetongue virus
  • Descriptive epidemiology
  • Diagnostics
  • Orbivirus
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • Reoviridae
  • Sequencing
  • Spread

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