Phylogeography of West Nile virus

From the cradle of evolution in Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas

Fiona J. May, C. Todd Davis, Robert B. Tesh, Alan Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

130 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

West Nile virus (WNV) is the most widely distributed of the encephalitic flaviviruses and is a major cause of encephalitis, with isolates obtained from all continents, apart from Antarctica. Subsequent to its divergence from the other members of the Japanese encephalitis virus complex, presumably in Africa, WNV has diverged into individual lineages that mostly correspond with geographic distribution. Here we elucidate the phylogeography and evolutionary history of isolates from lineage 1 of WNV. Interestingly, there are many examples of the same amino acid having evolved independently on multiple occasions. In Africa, WNV exists in an endemic cycle, whereas it is epidemic in Europe, being reintroduced regularly from Africa either directly (in western Europe) or via the Middle East (in eastern Europe). Significantly, introduction into other geographic areas has occurred on one occasion only in each region, leading to subsequent establishment and expansion of the virus in these areas. Only one endemic genotype each is present in India and Australia, suggesting that WNV was successfully introduced into these locations once only. Each introduction occurred many centuries ago, probably due to trade and exploration during the 19th century. Likewise, in the Americas, WNV was successfully introduced in 1999 and subsequently became endemic across most temperate regions of North America (NA). In contrast to previous suggestions, an isolate from the epidemic in Israel in 1998 was not the direct progenitor of the NA epidemic; rather, both epidemics originated from the same (unknown) location.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2964-2974
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume85
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

Fingerprint

Phylogeography
West Nile virus
Eurasia
phylogeography
North America
Japanese Encephalitis Virus
Flaviviridae
Japanese encephalitis virus
Flavivirus
Eastern Europe
Eastern European region
Encephalitis
Israel
encephalitis
Western European region
Antarctica
India
geographical distribution
Genotype
Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology

Cite this

Phylogeography of West Nile virus : From the cradle of evolution in Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas. / May, Fiona J.; Davis, C. Todd; Tesh, Robert B.; Barrett, Alan.

In: Journal of Virology, Vol. 85, No. 6, 03.2011, p. 2964-2974.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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