During the last bovine vaccinia (BV) outbreaks, several Vaccinia virus (VACV) strains were isolated and characterised, revealing significant polymorphisms between strains, even within conserved genes. Although the epidemiology of VACV has been studied in BV outbreaks, there is little data about the circulation of the Brazilian VACV isolates. This study describes the genetic and biological characterisation of two VACV isolates, Pelotas 1 virus (P1V) and Pelotas 2 virus (P2V), which were obtained concomitantly from a horse affected by severe cutaneous disease. Despite being isolated from the same exanthematic clinical sample, P1V and P2V showed differences in their plaque phenotype and in one-step growth curves. Moreover, P1V and P2V presented distinct virulence profiles in a BALB/c mouse model, as observed with other Brazilian VACV isolates. Sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of four different genes demonstrated that the isolates are segregated in different VACV clusters. Our results raise interesting questions about the diversity of VACV isolates in Brazil.
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