Molecular characterization of Capripox viruses obtained from field outbreaks in Nigeria between 2000 and 2016.
Capripox virus infections are endemic diseases of livestock in Nigeria, but there are limited data on molecular characterization of circulating viruses. In this study, we investigated field outbreaks of Capripox virus infections in Nigeria via partial sequencing of viruses obtained from field samples. Eleven selected samples, collected from 2000-2016 from cattle (9), sheep (1) and goat (1) in three states in Nigeria and Capripox virus genome positive by PCR and real-time qPCR, were characterized using our newly developed partial sequencing protocol. This method for genetic characterization of Capripox virus strains allows a first, short molecular classification of strains responsible for the investigated field outbreaks in the country. Phylogenetically, the eight LSDV samples obtained from 2010 to 2016 are closely related to already published strains occurring in Greece and Serbia in the years 2015 and 2016, respectively, whereas the isolate from 2000 shows high similarity to the South African NI-2490 strain. These data indicate that there was a change of LSDV strains circulating in Nigeria between the years 2000 and 2010. The samples isolated from a goat and a sheep in different years seem to be related to already known GTPV strains, but clearly differ from all current published GTPV strains. Interestingly, both newly detected GTPV strains show up to 100% similarity compared to each other and led to clinical disease in sheep and goats. It is long known that some strains of GTPV and SPPV are able to infect both sheep and goats, but in most cases lead to more severe disease in only one of these species. Further genetic characterization of these isolates could provide more insight into pathogenesis and virulence factors of Capripox viruses, especially GTPV and SPPV.