Serotype Diversity of Foot-and-Mouth-Disease Virus in Livestock without History of Vaccination in the Far North Region of Cameroon

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Little information is available about the natural cycle of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the absence of control measures such as vaccination. Cameroon presents a unique opportunity for epidemiological studies because FMD vaccination is not practiced. We carried out a prospective study including serological, antigenic and genetic aspects of FMD virus (FMDV) infections among different livestock production systems in the Far North of Cameroon to gain insight into the natural ecology of the virus. We found serological evidence of FMDV infection in over 75% of the animals sampled with no significant differences of prevalence observed among the sampled groups (i.e. market, sedentary, transboundary trade and mobile). We also found antibodies reactive to five of the seven FMDV serotypes (A, O, SAT1, SAT2 and SAT3) among the animals sampled. Finally, we were able to genetically characterize viruses obtained from clinical and subclinical FMD infections in Cameroon. Serotype O viruses grouped into two topotypes (West and East Africa). SAT2 viruses grouped with viruses from Central and Northern Africa, notably within the sublineage causing the large epidemic in Northern Africa in 2012, suggesting a common origin for these viruses. This research will guide future interventions for the control of FMD such as improved diagnostics, guidance for vaccine formulation and epidemiological understanding in support of the progressive control of FMD in Cameroon.

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