Infections with pestiviruses occur in cattle, sheep, pigs and also in numerous other ungulate species. In the present study, pestiviruses from goat, buffalo, deer and giraffe were analysed at the molecular level; unusual strains from cattle and pigs were also included. A phylogenetic analysis of the respective pestiviruses was undertaken on the basis of a fragment from the 5' noncoding region as well as the gene encoding autoprotease Npro. Statistical analyses of the respective phylogenetic trees-based on the 5' NCR revealed low confidence levels for most of the branches, while the structure of the tree based on the Npro gene was supported by high bootstrap values. Accordingly, the isolates from goat, buffalo and deer can be grouped together with bovine viral diarrhoea virus (pestivirus type 1); within this genotype three subgroups and one disparate virus have been identified. One isolate from pig and one from cattle belong to the group of 'true' border disease virus (pestivirus type 3), which can be further subdivided into two major subgroups. Interestingly, the giraffe isolate does not belong to one of the four established pestivirus genotypes. The phylogenetic analysis strongly suggests that genotype 1 pestiviruses occur world-wide in many ruminant species. Furthermore, phylogenetic trees based on the Npro gene nucleotide sequences show that the respective sequences do not segregate into discrete lineages based on host-species origin.


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