Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is endemic in Kenya where four serotypes (O, A, SAT 1 and SAT 2) of the virus are currently in circulation. Within 2010 and 2011, the National Laboratory recorded an increase in the number of FMD outbreaks caused by serotype O virus. The characteristics of these viruses were determined to ascertain whether these were independent outbreaks or one single strain spreading throughout the country. The sequences of the complete VP1-coding region were analysed from viruses sampled within different areas of Kenya during 2010 and 2011. The results indicated that the 2010 to 2011 outbreaks in Kenya were caused by four independent strains. By comparison with earlier type O isolates from Eastern Africa, it was apparent that the outbreaks were caused by viruses from three different lineages of topotype EA-2 and a fourth virus strain belonging to topotype EA-4. The topotypes EA-1 and EA-3 were not detected from these outbreaks. Implications of these results for FMD control in Eastern Africa are discussed.
Keywords: East Africa; Kenya; foot-and-Mouth disease; outbreaks; serotype O FMDV; topotype.
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