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This study confirmed that partial NS1 sequencing can be used in outbreak tracking to determine major viral clusters of AMDV.
Using this method, two new distinct AMDV clusters with low intra-cluster sequence diversity were identified, and epidemiological data helped to reveal possible ways of viral introduction into the affected herds.
Aleutian Mink Disease (AMD) is an infectious disease of mink (Neovison vison) and globally a major cause of economic losses in mink farming.
The disease is caused by Aleutian Mink Disease Virus (AMDV) that belongs to the genus Amdoparvovirus within the Parvoviridae family.
The phylogenetic analyses of partial NS1 gene sequences revealed that the outbreaks were caused by two different clusters of viruses that were clearly different from the strains found in Northern Jutland.
These clusters had restricted geographical distribution, and the variation within the clusters was remarkably low.
However, in 2015, several outbreaks of AMDV occurred at mink farms throughout Denmark, and the sources of these outbreaks were not known.
Partial NS1 gene sequencing, phylogenetic analyses data were utilized along with epidemiological to determine the origin of the outbreaks.
The majority of the samples were obtained during the acute outbreaks but also a number of retrospective samples were analysed dating back to 2003.
The NS1 gene is of particular importance as it plays a key role in viral replication, and it shows a high degree of genetic variability between different strains [1, 2, 3].
AMDV is the cause of Aleutian mink disease (AMD) with different disease manifestations in mink.
In Denmark, a voluntary test and stamping out policy of AMDV positive mink was initiated in 1976, and supported by legislation in 1999 in order to verify the AMDV status of all Danish mink farms.
In this legislation, a farm is defined as infected if three or more mink are tested positive by an AMDV antibody test or if AMDV is detected.