Genetic characterization of foot-and-mouth disease viruses (FMDV) , Ethiopia, 1981-2007

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. To further understand its complex epidemiology, which involves multiple virus serotypes and host species, we characterized the viruses recovered from FMD outbreaks in Ethiopia during 1981–2007. We detected 5 of the 7 FMDV serotypes (O, A, C, Southern African Territories [SAT] 1, and SAT 2). Serotype O predominated, followed by serotype A; type C was not recognized after 1983. Phylogenetic analysis of virus protein 1 sequences indicated emergence of a new topotype within serotype O, East Africa 4. In 2007, serotype SAT 1 was detected in Ethiopia and formed a new distinct topotype (IX), and serotype SAT 2 reappeared after an apparent gap of 16 years. The diversity of viruses highlights the role of this region as a reservoir for FMD virus, and their continuing emergence in Ethiopia will greatly affect spread and consequent control strategy of the disease on this continent.

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