Peste des petits ruminants in Pakistan; past, present and future perspectives
BACKGROUND Peste des petits ruminants (PPR) is an endemic and highly contagious disease in small ruminants of Pakistan. Despite the fact that an effective vaccine is available, outbreaks are regularly occurring in the country. Thus so far, the diagnosis has primarily been made based on clinical outcome or serology. This study was carried out to characterize PPRV from an emerging wave of outbreaks from Punjab, Pakistan. RESULTS A total of 32 blood samples from five different flocks were tested with real-time PCR for the presence of PPRV genome. The samples detected positive in real-time PCR (n = 17) were subjected to conventional PCR for the amplification of the nucleoprotein (N) gene. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequenced N genes (n = 8) indicated the grouping of all the sequences in lineage IV along with PPRV strains from Asian and Middle East. However, interestingly sequences were divided into two groups. One group of viruses (n = 7) clustered with previously characterized Pakistani isolates whereas one strain of PPRV was distinct and clustered with Saudi Arabian and Iranian strains of PPRV. CONCLUSIONS Results demonstrated in this study expanded the information on the genetic nature of different PPRV population circulating in small ruminants. Such information is essential to understand genetic nature of PPRV strains throughout the country. Proper understanding of these viruses will help to devise control strategies in PPRV endemic countries such as Pakistan.