Ljungan virus (LV) was discovered 20 years ago in Swedish bank voles (Myodes glareolus, previously referred to as Clethrionomys glareolus) during the search for an infectious agent causing lethal myocarditis in young athletes. To date, the genomes of four LV isolates, including the prototype 87-012 strain, have been characterized. Three of these LV strains were isolated from bank voles trapped in Sweden. Sequence analysis of an American virus (M1146), isolated from a montane vole (Microtus montanus) in western USA, indicates that this strain represents a genotype that is different from the Swedish strains. Here, we present genomic analyses of a fifth LV strain (64-7855) isolated from a southern red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi) trapped during arbovirus studies in New York state in the north-eastern USA in the 1960s. Sequence analysis of the 64-7855 genome showed an LV-like genome organization and sequence similarity to other LV strains. Genetic and phylogenetic analyses of the evolutionary relationship between the 64-7855 strain and other viruses within the family Picornaviridae, including previously published LV strains, demonstrated that the 64-7855 strain constitutes a new genotype within the LV species. Analyses also showed that different regions of the 64-7855 genome have different phylogenetic relationships with other LV strains, indicating that previous recombination events have been involved in the evolution of this virus.
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