HoBi-like is the most prevalent ruminant pestivirus in Northeastern Brazil.
The ruminant pestiviral species BVDV-1, BVDV-2 and BDV, along with the putative species HoBi-like, may cause substantial economic losses in cattle, sheep and goats. Brazil's large size, variable biomes and wide range of ruminant animal production within different geographic regions suggest that the presence and prevalence of ruminant pestivirus may differ by regions within Brazil. This study investigated the genetic diversity of ruminant pestiviruses and determined the frequency of active infections within two states of the Northeast Region of Brazil, Maranhão and Rio Grande do Norte. Serum samples from 16,621 cattle and 2,672 small ruminants from 569 different herds residing in this region were tested by RT-PCR followed by DNA sequencing. Seventeen positive cattle were detected (0.1%) from fifteen different herds (2.64%). All isolates were classified as HoBi-like pestiviruses based on phylogenetic analysis. All small ruminant samples tested negative. The findings presented herein suggest that the Northeast Region of Brazil has a uniquely high prevalence of HoBi-like viruses. The increasing reports of HoBi-like viruses detected in cattle in the field suggest that natural infection with these viruses may be more widespread than previously thought. The identification of HoBi-like viruses as the most prevalent type of ruminant pestivirus circulating in the Northeast Region of Brazil indicates the need for both continued monitoring and determination of the extent of economic losses associated with HoBi-like virus infections. In addition, it must be taken into account in the choice of diagnostic tests and in vaccine formulations.