The origin and evolution of the type O foot-and-mouth disease viruses (FMDV) that caused the outbreak occurrence in Italy in 1993, the first episode of the disease in the EU after adoption of a non-vaccination policy in 1991, have been studied by the analysis of sequences encoding three main antigenic sites on the viral capsid proteins. The phylogenetic tree derived from sequences spanning the carboxyterminal end of VP1 showed that these Italian viruses were grouped in the ME-SA topotype, closely related to viruses that circulated previously in the Middle East. The analysis of the nucleotide sequences in VP1, VP2 and VP3 showed a co-circulation during the epizootic of genetic variants, including viruses with amino acid replacements in VP3. For some of the isolates analyzed, values of fixation of nucleotide substitutions per year were observed in the three regions analyzed, ranging from 1.5 to 5.1 × 10 −2 . The use of a panel of new monoclonal antibodies raised against an isolate from this outbreak, as well as monoclonal antibodies to FMDV O1-Switzerland 1965, showed differences in the reactivity pattern among some of the Italian isolates analyzed, which were consistent with the co-circulation of antigenic variants. These results support the potential for FMDV diversification in a limited period of time and under epidemiological conditions in which no vaccination campaigns were being implemented.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 1, 2006
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