Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is an acute, highly contagious disease responsible for high morbidity and mortality rates in susceptible sheep and goats. Adequate knowledge of the diversity of circulating strains of PPR virus will help livestock authorities choose appropriate vaccines. The objective of this study was to describe the epidemiology of PPR and characterize the strains circulating in Bangladesh. Veterinarians enrolled goats showing signs consistent with PPR, including diarrhoea, fever and respiratory distress, from three veterinary hospitals. Post-treatment follow up was carried out to ascertain health outcomes of the goats. Faecal and throat swab samples were collected from the goats and tested for PPRV RNA using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR). Nucleotide sequence-based phylogenetic analyses of two structural genes, the nucleocapsid (N gene), and the haemagglutinin (H gene) were studied to determine the genetic variations of PPRV strains. Of the 539 goats enrolled, 38% (203/539) had detectable RNA for PPRV. We were able to follow up with 91% (184/203) of the PPRV infected goats; 44 of them died (24%). PPRV was more frequently identified in the summer (45%) than in the rainy season (29%) (Odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.3–3.1). Bangladeshi strains were phylogenetically similar to the lineage IV PPRV strains; showing particularly strong affiliation with Tibetan and Indian strains. PPR is a common viral infection of the goats in Bangladesh, with a high case-fatality rate. This study confirms the circulation of lineage IV PPRV in the country with unique amino acid substitutions in N and H proteins and provides baseline data for vaccine development and implementation.
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