Molecular typing of canine distemper virus strains reveals the presence of a new genetic variant in South America.
Canine distemper virus (CDV, Paramyxoviridae, Morbillivirus) is the causative agent of a severe infectious disease affecting terrestrial and marine carnivores worldwide. Phylogenetic relationships and the genetic variability of the hemagglutinin (H) protein and the fusion protein signal-peptide (Fsp) allow for the classification of field strains into genetic lineages. Currently, there are nine CDV lineages worldwide, two of them co-circulating in South America. Using the Fsp-coding region, we analyzed the genetic variability of strains from Uruguay, Brazil, and Ecuador, and compared them with those described previously in South America and other geographical areas. The results revealed that the Brazilian and Uruguayan strains belong to the already described South America lineage (EU1/SA1), whereas the Ecuadorian strains cluster in a new clade, here named South America 3, which may represent the third CDV lineage described in South America.