Pestiviruses are distributed worldwide and are responsible for a variety of economically important diseases. They are not very host-specific, and thus sheep can be infected by well-known pestiviruses like bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) and border disease virus (BDV), as well as by other recently discovered pestivirus species. The aim of this study is to describe the isolation and characterization of four pestivirus strains detected in aborted lamb fetuses from a single farm in the Brescia province (Northern Italy). A total of twelve aborted fetuses were collected and examined. After necropsy, organs were tested for the presence of infectious agents known as potential causes of abortion (Brucella
spp., Coxiella burnetii
spp., Neospora caninum
, and Toxoplasma gondii
), and submitted to viral identification by isolation on Madin Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cell culture and by PCR assay for Schmallenberg virus and pan-pestivirus RT-PCR real time assay. Three viral strains (Ovine/IT/1756/2017, Ovine/IT/338710-2/2017, and Ovine/IT/338710-3/2017) were isolated in the absence of cytopathic effects (CPEs) in cell cultures and identified with RT-PCR. Another pestivirus strain (Ovine/IT/16235-2/2018) was detected by PCR, but was not successfully isolated. Complete sequence genomic data of the three isolated viruses showed that they were highly similar, differed genetically from known pestivirus species, and were closely related to classical swine fever virus (CSFV). Beyond the identification of new ovine pestiviruses, this study indicates that a systematic diagnostic approach is important to identify the presence and map the distribution of both known and emerging pestiviruses.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited