Characterization of field isolates of viruses associated with pox-like outbreaks involving both cows (cattle) and buffaloes was carried out. PCR and electron microcopy of representative virus isolates from these animals, initially identified them as orthopoxviruses (OPXVs). Sequence and phylogenetic analyses of A-type inclusion and haemagglutinin (HA) genes of these isolates revealed a closer relationship with other OPXVs. Sequencing of the HA gene of these isolates revealed sequence identity of 96.2–99.8 and 94.6–98.7% at the nucleotide and deduced amino acid level, respectively, with VACVs, particularly with VACV-MVA, a vaccine strain. Further, C18L (ankyrin repeat protein)-gene-based BPXV-specific PCR confirmed them as BPXV. It is apparent from this study that pox-like outbreaks in cows and buffaloes in India are caused, in most cases, by BPXV. Considering the zoonotic implications of buffalopox, such outbreaks involving both buffaloes and cows in a mixed flock may pose a significant public health threat. Transmissibility of BPXV between different species including cows, buffaloes and human beings implies the potential reemergence of the virus in the subcontinent, similar to vaccinia-like outbreaks witnessed recently in other countries.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2010
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