First genomic evidence of dual African swine fever virus infection: case report from recent and historical outbreaks in Sardinia

African swine fever virus (ASFV) is one of the pathogens of highest concern worldwide. Despite different virus lineages co-circulating in several areas, dual infections in the same animal have been rarely observed, suggesting that ASF superinfections are infrequent events. Here we present the first genome-wide detection and analysis of two intragenotype dual ASFV infections. The dual infections have been detected in a hunted wild boar and in a pig carcass, both infected by ASFV genotype I in Sardinia in 1984 and 2018, respectively. We characterize the genetic differences between the two sequences, their intra-host frequency, and their phylogenetic relationship among fully sequenced ASFV strains from Sardinia. Both dual infections involve pairs of closely related but different viruses that were circulating in Sardinia in the same period. The results imply that dual ASFV infections or similar ASFV strains are more common than expected, especially in ASF endemic areas, albeit difficult to detect.

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