In 2011, a neurological disease was reported in a herd of goats () in Asturias, Spain. Initial sequencing identified the causative agent as louping ill virus (LIV). Subsequently, with the application of whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, empirical data demonstrates that the LIV-like virus detected is significantly divergent from LIV and Spanish sheep encephalitis virus (SSEV). This virus encoded an amino acid sequence motif at the site of a previously identified marker for differentiating tick-borne flaviviruses that was shared with a virus previously isolated in Ireland in 1968. The significance of these observations reflects the diversity of tick-borne flaviviruses in Europe. These data also contribute to our knowledge of the evolution of tick-borne flaviviruses and could reflect the movement of viruses throughout Europe. Based on these observations, the proposed name for this virus is Spanish goat encephalitis virus (SGEV), to distinguish it from SSEV.


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