Phylodynamics of foot-and-mouth disease virus O/PanAsia in Vietnam 2010 - 2014

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) is endemic in Vietnam, a country that plays an important role in livestock trade within Southeast Asia. The large populations of FMDV-susceptible species in Vietnam are important components of food production and of the national livelihood. In this study, we investigated the phylogeny of FMDV O/PanAsia in Vietnam, reconstructing the virus’ ancestral host species (pig, cattle or buffalo), clinical stage (subclinical carrier or clinically affected) and geographical location. Phylogenetic divergence time estimation and character state reconstruction analyses suggest that movement of viruses between species differ. While inferred transmissions from cattle to buffalo and pigs and from pigs to cattle are well supported, transmission from buffalo to other species, and from pigs to buffalo may be less frequent. Geographical movements of FMDV O/PanAsia virus appears to occur in all directions within the country, with the South Central Coast and the Northeast regions playing a more important role in FMDV O/PanAsia spread. Genetic selection of variants with changes at specific sites within FMDV VP1 coding region was different depending on host groups analyzed. The overall ratio of non-synonymous to synonymous nucleotide changes was greater in pigs compared to cattle and buffalo, whereas a higher number of individual amino acid sites under positive selection were detected in persistently infected, subclinical animals compared to viruses collected from clinically diseased animals. These results provide novel insights to understand FMDV evolution and its association with viral spread within endemic countries. These findings may support animal health organizations in their endeavor to design animal disease control strategies in response to outbreaks.

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