Global emergence and evolutionary dynamics of bluetongue virus
Research article published in Scientific Reports journal
Abstract: Bluetongue virus (BTV) epidemics are responsible for worldwide economic losses of up to US$ 3 billion. Understanding the global evolutionary epidemiology of BTV is critical in designing intervention programs. Here we employed phylodynamic models to quantify the evolutionary characteristics, spatiotemporal origins, and multi-host transmission dynamics of BTV across the globe. We inferred that goats are the ancestral hosts for BTV but are less likely to be important for cross-species transmission, sheep and cattle continue to be important for the transmission and maintenance of infection between other species. Our models pointed to China and India, countries with the highest population of goats, as the likely ancestral country for BTV emergence and dispersal worldwide over 1000 years ago. However, the increased diversification and dispersal of BTV coincided with the initiation of transcontinental livestock trade after the 1850s. Our analysis uncovered important epidemiological aspects of BTV that may guide future molecular surveillance of BTV.
Moh A Alkhamis, Cecilia Aguilar-Vega, Nicholas M Fountain-Jones, Kai Lin, Andres M Perez, José M Sánchez-Vizcaíno