VETERINARY MICROBIOLOGY, vol.158, pp.300-307, 2012 (SCI-Expanded)
Bovine ephemeral fever virus (BEFV) is an economically important arbovirus of cattle. The main routes of its transmission between countries and continents are not completely elucidated. This study aimed to explore BEFV transmission in the Middle-East. A phylogenetic analysis was performed on the gene encoding the G protein of BEFV isolates from Israel from 2000 and 2008 with isolates from Turkey (2008), Egypt (2005), Australia (1968–1998) and East Asia (1966–2004). Calf sera collected during the years 2006–2007 were tested by serum neutralization in order to explore for recent exposure to BEFV before 2008. These were followed by a meteorological analysis, aimed to reveal movement of air parcels into Israel in the two weeks preceding the first case of BEF in Israel in 2008. The 2008 Israeli and Turkish isolates showed 99% identity and formed a new cluster with the 2000 Israeli isolate. The serological survey showed no new exposure to BEFV during 2006 and 2007. These results coincided with the meteorological analysis, which revealed that air parcels originating in Southern Turkey had reached the location of outbreak onset in Israel nine days before the discovery of the index case. The Egyptian isolate clustered phylogenetically with the Taiwanese isolates, coinciding with data on importation of cattle from China to the Middle East in the year preceding the isolation of the Egyptian isolates. These results suggest that both winds and animal transport may have an important role in trans-boundary transmission of BEFV.