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Molecular Characterization of Newcastle Disease Viruses Isolated from Chickens in Tanzania and Ghana

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Newcastle disease (ND) is one of the most challenging infectious diseases affecting poultry production in Africa, causing major economic losses. To date, Newcastle disease virus isolates from several African countries have been grouped into class II NDV genotypes I, IV, V, VI, VII, XI, XIII, XIV, XVII, XVIII and XXI. Although ND is endemic in many African countries, information on circulating genotypes is still scarce. In Tanzania, outbreaks with genotypes V and XIII have been reported. In West and Central Africa, genotypes XIV, XVII, and XVIII are the most predominant. To investigate other genotypes circulating in Tanzania and Ghana, we performed molecular genotyping on isolates from Tanzania and Ghana using the MinION, a third-generation portable sequencing device from Oxford Nanopore Technologies. Using the MinION, we successfully sequenced the NDV F gene hypervariable region of 24 isolates from Tanzania and four samples from Ghana. In Tanzania, genotypes V, VII and XIII were detected. All isolates from Ghana belonged to genotype XVIII. The data obtained in this study reflect the genetic diversity of NDV in Africa and highlight the importance of surveillance for monitoring the distribution of NDV genotypes and viral evolution.

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