Rift Valley fever phlebovirus (RVFV) is a mosquito-transmitted pathogen endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. RVFV is a threat to both animal and human health and has costly economic consequences mainly related to livestock production and trade. Competent hosts and vectors for RVFV are widespread, existing outside of endemic countries including the USA. Thus, the possibility of RVFV spreading to the USA or other countries worldwide is of significant concern. RVFV (genus Phlebovirus) is comprised of an enveloped virion containing a three-segmented, negative-stranded RNA genome that is able to undergo genetic reassortment. Reassortment has the potential to produce viruses that are more pathogenic, easily transmissible, and that have wider vector or host range. This is especially concerning because of the wide use of live attenuated vaccine strains throughout endemic countries. This review focuses on the molecular aspects of RVFV, genetic diversity of RVFV strains, and RVFV reassortment.
Keywords: Genetic diversity; Phlebovirus; Reassortment; Replication; Rift Valley fever.