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Foot and mouth disease in sub-Saharan Africa moves over short distances, wild buffalo are a problem
Date:10/21/2013

h the topotypes appear in different places gives strong support to the idea that the virus is spread by infected hosts in land movements over relatively short distances. What's more, African buffalo are an important "maintenance host", meaning they maintain a reservoir of the virus that can re-infect domesticated animals after time and culling has ended an outbreak among livestock. The relationships between the 250 sequences also indicate that it's possible the original source of the SAT 2 viruses that are now found in wild and domesticated animals was African buffalo.

To Hall, these results indicate that genetic tracking of viruses has a lot of potential for making inferences about viral spread and heading off future outbreaks.

"We showed that we can demonstrate [virus movement] using genetic data. It's a tool that can be used for that kind of inference. In cases where less is known, this is a valid way of going about answering the questions," says Hall.

Going forward, Hall says he plans to apply a similar approach to studying serotype O FMD viruses in Africa, Asia, and South America to identify links between different animal populations. "It's good to know the reason it spreads," says Hall. "It could be quite a contribution to eradication or control efforts."


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Contact: Jim Sliwa
jsliwa@asmusa.org
202-942-9297
American Society for Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

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