Epidemiology and Infection

Natural transmission of foot-and-mouth disease virus between African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) and impala (Aepyceros melampus) in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

A. D. S. BASTOS a1c1, C. I. BOSHOFF a1, D. F. KEET a2, R. G. BENGIS a2 and G. R. THOMSON a1
a1 Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, Division of Exotic Diseases, Private Bag X5, Onderstepoort, 0110, South Africa
a2 Office of the State Veterinarian, Kruger National Park, P.O. Box 12, Skukuza, 1350, South Africa


VP1 gene sequences of SAT-2 type foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) viruses recovered from impala and African buffalo in the Kruger National Park (KNP) were used to determine intra- and interspecies relationships of viruses circulating in these wildlife populations. On this basis five distinct lineages of SAT-2 virus were identified in routine sampling of oesophageo-pharyngeal epithelium from buffalo between 1988 and 1996. Different lineages were associated with discrete geographic sampling localities. Over the period 1985–95, four unrelated epizootics occurred in impala in defined localities within the KNP. Evidence for natural transmission of FMD between buffalo and impala is presented for the most recent 1995 outbreak, with data linking the 1985 and 1988/9 impala epizootics to viruses associated with specific buffalo herds.

(Accepted November 20 1999)

c1 Author for correspondence.