* Close relationship of ruminant pestiviruses and classical swine fever virus

To determine why serum from small ruminants infected with ruminant pestiviruses reacted positively to classical swine fever virus (CSFV)–specific diagnostic tests, we analyzed 2 pestiviruses from Turkey. They differed genetically and antigenically from known Pestivirus species and were closely related to CSFV. Cross-reactions would interfere with classical swine fever diagnosis in pigs.

Pestiviruses are enveloped viruses within the family Flaviviridae that have a highly variable single-stranded positive-sense RNA genome of ≈12.3 kb. The genus Pestivirus comprises the established species bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV)–1, BVDV-2, border disease virus (BDV), and classical swine fever virus (CSFV), as well as a growing number of additional tentative Pestivirus species. CSFV is the causative agent for classical swine fever, which is notifiable to the World Organisation of Animal Health because it is highly contagious and can cause great loss of pigs. For a given country, CSFV-positive status severely diminishes international trade of pigs and pig products. Accordingly, because of cross-reacting antibodies, infections of pigs (nonruminants) with ruminant pestiviruses, which occasionally occur under natural conditions, can cause serious problems with regard to serologic diagnosis of classical swine fever.

In Turkey, 2 pestiviruses, Aydin/04 and Burdur/05, have been isolated from a sheep and a goat with clinical signs of border disease. A detailed genetic and antigenic characterization revealed that these 2 isolates must be regarded as representatives of a new Pestivirus species that is closely related to CSFV and can cause serious diagnostic problems in established CSFV serology. During 2004–2007, serum samples from 1,036 sheep and goats in Turkey were serologically screened for infection with pestiviruses of small ruminants. Of these, 11 serum samples from 7 sheep herds gave positive or doubtful reactions in the CSFV antibody–specific ELISA (HerdChek, IDEXX) and were subjected to commonly used virus neutralization testing (VNT). VNT against the 2 established CSFV strains Alfort187 (genotype 1.1) and Diepholz (genotype 2.3) and against the BDV strains Moredun (genotype 1) and Gifhorn (genotype 3) revealed higher BDV titers in only 3 serum samples. Equal or slightly higher titers against the CSFV reference strains became evident in 8 of the 11 serum samples, which came from 5 regions of Turkey. Further VNT analyses with the 2 previously obtained isolates, Aydin/04 and Burdur/05, demonstrated neutralizing antibody titers that were equal or higher than those against BDV and CSFV test strains. To elucidate the reason for strong serologic reactivity in CSFV assays, we genetically and antigenically characterized pestiviruses Aydin/04 and Burdur/05.

The complete genome sequence of Aydin/04 was determined as reported previously. The genome sequence of Burdur/05 was determined by next-generation sequencing on an Illumina MiSeq platform (2 × 250-bp paired end run, 593,328 reads) as recently described. Template total cellular RNA was extracted from supernatant of sheep fetal thymus cells. Of all reads, 73.9% were found to be of host origin. Of the nonhost reads, 89.9% assembled into a single sequence contig encompassing the entire pestivirus Burdur/05 genome (coverage 196-fold).

Read more:  Emerging Infectious Diseases  Original web page at Emerging Infectious Diseases