1887

Abstract

Ten African swine fever virus isolates from the soft tick collected on three farms in the province of Alentejo in Portugal were characterized by their ability to cause haemadsorption (HAD) of red blood cells to infected pig macrophages, using restriction enzyme site mapping of the virus genomes and by experimental infection of pigs. Six virus isolates induced haemadsorption and four were non-haemadsorbing (non-HAD) in pig macrophage cell cultures. The restriction enzyme site maps of two non-HAD viruses, when compared with a virulent HAD isolate, showed a deletion of 9·6 kbp in the fragment adjacent to the left terminal fragment and of 1·6 kbp in the right terminal fragment and an insertion of 0·2 kbp in the central region. The six HAD viruses isolated were pathogenic and produced typical acute African swine fever in pigs and the four non-HAD isolates were non-pathogenic. Pigs that were infected with non-HAD viruses were fully resistant or had a delay of up to 14 days in the onset of disease, after challenge with pathogenic Portuguese viruses. Non-HAD viruses could be transmitted by contact but with a lower efficiency (42–50 %) compared with HAD viruses (100 %). The clinical differences found between the virus isolates from the ticks could have implications for the long-term persistence of virus in the field because of the cross-protection produced by the non-pathogenic isolates. This may also explain the presence of seropositive pigs in herds in Alentejo where no clinical disease had been reported.

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2004-08-01
2019-11-13
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