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Distribution and Genetic Characterization of Border Disease Virus Circulating in Sardinian Ovine Flocks

1
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
2
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sardegna, 07100 Sassari, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Pathogens 2020, 9(5), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9050360
Received: 15 March 2020 / Revised: 25 April 2020 / Accepted: 6 May 2020 / Published: 9 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Pathogens)
Border Disease (BD) is a worldwide distributed pathology accountable for significant losses in the sheep and goat farming industry. The etiological agent is a Pestivirus within the family Flaviviridae called border disease virus (BDV). Despite the Sardinian ovine population being by far larger than any other Italian region, the prevalence and distribution of BD on the island are unknown. Here, we aim to determine the distribution of BDV in sheep flocks and to genetically characterize the circulating strains in Sardinia. The geographical distribution, antibody positivity, and viral genome presence have been analysed for 1286 sheep flocks distributed all over the island from bulk tank milk sampled between May 2014 and 2015. Of the flocks tested, 11.28% (95% CI 9.66–13.12) resulted positive for the presence of anti-pestivirus antibodies with an uneven distribution between Sardinian provinces. In addition, using RT-PCR, nine BDV genomes were amplified from milk pellets of the seropositive samples. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that all the viruses amplified clustered in the same group classified as BDV-7. This represents the first study on the distribution of pestivirus infection and genetic characterization of BDV strains circulating in the Sardinian sheep population. Future studies are needed to clarify the origin, the evolution, and the epidemiology of BDV-7 in Sardinia. View Full-Text
Keywords: BDV; epidemiology; genetic characterization; Sardinia BDV; epidemiology; genetic characterization; Sardinia
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Piras, I.M.; Dei Giudici, S.; Fadda, M.; Anfossi, A.G.; Oggiano, A.; Pittau, M.; Chessa, B. Distribution and Genetic Characterization of Border Disease Virus Circulating in Sardinian Ovine Flocks. Pathogens 2020, 9, 360.

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