Foot-and-mouth disease in Southern Ghana: occurrence and molecular characterization of circulating viruses

  • Mathias V. Teye
  • Teresa K. Sebunya
  • Elliot M. Fana
  • Donald P. King
  • LaToya Seoke
  • Nick J. Knowles
  • Joseph A. Awuni
  • George Matlho
  • Melvin Leteane
  • Joseph M. K. HyeraEmail author
Regular Articles


Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is considered to be endemic in Ghana. However, our knowledge of the local epidemiology of the disease is restricted by a lack of serological information and data for characterized viruses causing field outbreaks. In order to improve our understanding of the prevailing situation, this study was initiated to establish the FMD viruses (FMDV) circulating in the country. During 2016, sera (n = 93) and epithelia/oral swab (n = 20) samples were collected from cattle from four districts in Southern Ghana that experienced FMD outbreaks. Sera were analyzed using the PrioCHECK® FMDV non-structural protein (NSP) ELISA whereas the epithelia/oral swab samples were examined by virus isolation, antigen ELISA, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and sequencing of VP1 followed by phylogenetic analysis. Assay for antibodies against FMDV NSPs provided evidence of exposure to FMDV in 88.2% (82/93) of the sera tested. Serotypes O and A viruses were detected from clinical samples by RT-PCR and sequencing of VP1. Phylogenetic analysis of VP1 coding sequences revealed that the serotype O viruses belonged to the West Africa (WA) topotype and were most closely related to viruses from Niger and Benin, while the serotype A viruses clustered within genotype IV (G-IV) of the Africa topotype and were most closely related to viruses from Nigeria. This study provides useful information on FMDV serotypes and viral lineages that circulate in Ghana and West Africa that may aid in the formulation of effective FMD control strategies.


Cattle Foot-and-mouth disease virus Molecular characterization Serology Serotypes Southern Ghana 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Director of the Veterinary Services Directorate (VSD), Ghana, for permission to collect samples from Ghana, and the Accra Veterinary laboratory for storage space. We also appreciate Dr. Osei Tutu and the Veterinary Officers at the various sampling districts and the cattle farmers for their assistance and cooperation during the sampling exercise. The laboratory tests were performed at the OIE Regional Reference Laboratory of Sub-Saharan Africa for FMD (OIE-RRLSSA-FMD) administered by Botswana Vaccine Institute (BVI). We thank the technical staff of BVI for support with laboratory diagnosis. Special appreciation also goes to Dr. Mokopasetso and Dr. Mazwiduma of BVI for sampling and logistical support. This paper is published with permission of the Director of Veterinary Services Directorate of the Republic of Ghana.

Funding information

This study was funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) through the Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Plan (CSFP) research grant. The Pirbright Institute receives grant-aided support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council of the United Kingdom (projects BB/E/I/00007035 and BB/E/I/00007036). The work of the WRLFMD is supported with funding provided from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK (research grant SE2943) and the European Union (via a contract from EuFMD, Rome). The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. The study was approved by the Veterinary Service Directorate of the Ministry Food and Agriculture, Ghana (Reference: VSD/TRG/VI/4) and the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Botswana [Reference: A43/6 XVII (40)]. The research procedure was approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC), Office of Research and Development (ORD), University of Botswana (Reference: UBR/RES/ACUC/GRAD/001).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mathias V. Teye
    • 1
  • Teresa K. Sebunya
    • 1
  • Elliot M. Fana
    • 2
  • Donald P. King
    • 3
  • LaToya Seoke
    • 2
  • Nick J. Knowles
    • 3
  • Joseph A. Awuni
    • 4
  • George Matlho
    • 2
  • Melvin Leteane
    • 1
  • Joseph M. K. Hyera
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana
  2. 2.OIE Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Reference Laboratory for Foot-and-Mouth DiseaseBotswana Vaccine InstituteGaboroneBotswana
  3. 3.The Pirbright InstituteWokingUK
  4. 4.Accra Veterinary Laboratory, Veterinary Services DirectorateMinistry of Food and AgricultureAccraGhana

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