Bungowannah virus in the affected pig population: a retrospective genetic analysis
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Bungowannah virus, which belongs to the genus Pestivirus within the family Flaviviridae, has been associated with myocarditis and a high incidence of stillbirths in pigs. In 2003, the virus was initially detected in a large pig farming complex on two separate sites in New South Wales, Australia. Until now, it has not been detected at other locations. Despite a program of depopulation and disinfection, the virus could be only eradicated from one of the affected farm complexes, the Bungowannah unit, but became endemic on the second complex, the Corowa unit. In the present study, the genetic variability of virus isolates collected between 2003 and 2014 in the endemically infected population has been retrospectively investigated. Phylogenetic analysis carried out based on sequences of the E2 and NS5B coding regions and the full-length open-reading frame revealed that the isolates from the different farm sites are closely related, but that samples collected between 2010 and 2014 at the Corowa farm site clustered in a different branch of the phylogenetic tree. Since 2010, a high-genetic stability of this RNA virus within the Corowa farm complex, probably due to an effective adaptation of the virus to the affected pig population, could be observed.
KeywordsBungowannah virus Pestivirus Sequence analysis Virus evolution Molecular epidemiology
We thank Gabriela Adam, Doreen Schulz and Bianka Hillmann for excellent technical assistance at FLI and Katherine King, Jing Zhang and Ariella Arzey at EMAI.
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The samples for virus isolation were taken by the responsible farm veterinarian in the context of the health-monitoring program of the farm complexes.
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