34 strains of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) isolated during epizootics in the Republic of South Africa and in Mozambique between 1990 and 1995, and in Bulgaria and Turkey in 1995–1997 were identified by restriction enzyme and partial sequence analysis of the fusion (F) protein gene. The majority of isolates in southern Africa and those from Bulgaria and Turkey were placed into a novel group which has been termed VIIb. Group VIIb is part of a larger genetic cluster (VII) that also includes NDV strains from the Far East and some western European countries (VIIa). The genetic distance of 7–8, 5% between genotype VIIa and VIIb viruses excludes the existence of a direct epidemiological link between recent southern African epizootics and outbreaks in either western Europe in the 1990’s or those of the Far East. Another hitherto unrecorded genotype (VIII) was also found in South Africa with descendants of putative ancestral members isolated in the 1960’s. The genetic distance of recent group VIII strains from the major epizootic genotype (VIIb) is over 11%, therefore outbreaks caused by them were epidemiologically unrelated. Genotype VIII viruses must have been maintained in South Africa by endemic infections during the past decades while group VIIb appears to be introduced more recently.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 1, 1999
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