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Characterisation of a SAT-1 outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in captive African buffalo (Syncerus caffer): Clinical symptoms, genetic characterisation and phylogenetic comparison of outbreak isolates

Vosloo, W., De Klerk, L.M., Boshoff, C.I., Botha, B., Dwarka, R.M., Keet, D., Haydon, D.T.
Veterinary microbiology 2007 v.120 no.3-4 pp. 226-240
disease outbreaks, foot-and-mouth disease, Foot-and-mouth disease virus, Syncerus caffer, clinical examination, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), phylogeny, carrier state, genetic variation, strain differences, animal diseases, strains, nucleotide sequences, epidemiological studies, Southern Africa
African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) play an important role in the maintenance of the SAT types of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in southern Africa. These long-term carriers mostly become sub-clinically infected, maintaining the disease and posing a threat to other susceptible wildlife and domestic species. During an unrelated bovine tuberculosis experiment using captive buffalo in the Kruger National Park (KNP), an outbreak of SAT-1 occurred and was further investigated. The clinical signs were recorded and all animals demonstrated significant weight loss and lymphopenia that lasted 100 days. In addition, the mean cell volume and mean cell haemoglobin values were significantly higher than before the outbreak started. Virus was isolated from several buffalo over a period of 167 days post infection and the molecular clock estimated to be 3 x 10⁻⁵ nucleotide substitutions per site per day. Seven amino acid changes occurred of which four occurred in hypervariable regions previously described for SAT-1. The genetic relationship of the outbreak virus was compared to buffalo viruses previously obtained from the KNP but the phylogeny was largely unresolved, therefore the relationship of this outbreak strain to others isolated from the KNP remains unclear.