Aleutian mink disease has major economic consequences on the mink farming industry worldwide, as it causes a disease that affects both the fur quality and the health and welfare of the mink. The virus causing this disease is a single-stranded DNA virus of the genus Amdoparvovirus belonging to the family of Parvoviridae. In Denmark, infection with AMDV has largely been restricted to a region in the northern part of the country since 2001, affecting only 5% of the total Danish mink farms. However, in 2015 outbreaks of AMDV were diagnosed in all parts of the country. Initial analyses revealed that the out breaks were caused by two different strains of AMDV that were significant different from the circulating Danish strains. To track the source of these outbreaks, a major investigation of global AMDV strains was initiated. Samples from 13 different countries were collected and partial NS1 gene was sequenced and subjected to phylogenetic analyses. The analyses revealed that AMDV exhibited substantial genetic diversity. No clear country wise clustering was evident, but exchange of viruses between countries was revealed. One of the Danish outbreaks was caused by a strain of AMDV that closely resembled a strain originating from Sweden. In contrast, we did not identify any potential source for the other and more widespread outbreak strain. To the authors knowledge this is the first major global phylogenetic study of contemporary AMDV partial NS1 sequences. The study proved that partial NS1 sequencing can be used to distinguish virus strains belonging to major clusters. The partial NS1 sequencing can therefore be a helpful tool in combination with epidemiological data, in relation to outbreak tracking. However detailed information on farm to farm transmission requires full genome sequencing.
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- Aleutian mink disease virus
- Bayesian tree
- Molecular characterization