The first detection of a serotype O foot-and-mouth disease virus in Namibia

This report describes the molecular characterization of a serotype O foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) recovered from a field outbreak in the Zambezi region, Namibia during July 2021. Sequence analysis demonstrates that this FMDV belongs to the O/EA-2 topotype sharing closest nucleotide identity (99.5%) to FMD viruses collected since 2018 in Zambia. This is the first detection of serotype O in Namibia, and together with the cases that have been recently detected in southern Zambia, represent the first time that this serotype has been detected in the Southern African FMD endemic pool since 2000, when a virus of Asian origin (O/ME-SA/PanAsia) caused an outbreak in South Africa. This incursion poses a new threat for the region and the potential onward spread of O/EA-2 will now need to be closely monitored since serotype O vaccines are not widely used in Namibia, nor in neighbouring countries.

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