Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae and genus
morbillivirus. It is a highly contagious, fatal and economically important viral disease of small
ruminants that is still endemic and militate against the production of sheep and goats in
Nigeria. It is a notifiable disease according to the World Organization for Animal Health
(Office International des Epizooties). In this study, a molecular analysis of PPRV from sheep
and goats from recent outbreaks across the different regions of Nigeria was carried out. The
aim was to describe the viral strains and the movement of the virus within the country
compared to other endemic areas of the world. This was carried out through tissue and
swab samples collected from sheep and goats in various agro-ecological zones of
Nigeria.The evolution and relationship of earlier PPRV strains/isolates and those circulating
and causing recent outbreaks was determined by sequencing of the nucleoprotein (N)-gene.
Twenty tissue and swab samples from apparently healthy and sick sheep and goats were
collected randomly from each of three states of each of the six agro-ecological zones visited.
A total of 360 samples were collected. A total of 35 samples of 360 (9.7 %) tested positive by
RT-PCR, of which 25 were from oculo-nasal swabs and 10 were from tissue samples (Table
4.2). Phylogenetic analysis was carried out using the N-gene sequences of the PPRV amplicons.
Alignment of the sequences and related sequences from GenBank and neighbor-joining
phylogenetic analysis using PAUP identified four different lineages, i.e. lineages I, II, III and
IV. Interestingly, the Nigerian strains described in this study grouped in two separate major
lineages i.e. lineages II and IV. Strains from Sokoto, Oyo, Plateau and Ondo states grouped
according to the historical distribution of PPRV together with the Nigerian 75/1 strain of
lineage II, while other strains from Sokoto, Oyo, Plateau, Akwa-Ibom, Adamawa, Kaduna,
Lagos, Bauchi, Niger and Kano states grouped together with the East-African and Asian
strains of lineage IV. This finding suggests that both lineages II and IV strains of PPRVs are circulating presently in Nigeria, contrary to an earlier publication which indicated that only
strains of lineage II were circulating in the country (Shamaki, 2002).