Canine parvovirus (CPV) is a significant pathogen of domestic and free-ranging carnivores all over the world . It suddenly appeared at the end of the 1970s and most likely emerged as a variant of the well known feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). During its adaptation to the new host, the domestic dog, the virus has changed its antigenic profile twice giving rise to two new antigenic types, CPV-2a and CPV-2b. These new types have replaced the original type CPV-2 in the United States of America, Europe and Japan. However, no data about the prevalence of the new antigenic types on the African continent are available. In this study, 128 recent parvovirus isolates from South Africa and Namibia were antigenically typed with type-specific monoclonal antibodies. No original CPV-2 viruses were found and its complete replacement by the new antigenic types conforms to the situation in other parts of the world. The predominant strain found in southern Africa was CPV-2b (66 %), which differs from the situation in Europe and Japan where CPV-2a is the most prevalent type. Analysis of the capsid protein DNA-sequences of four selected African isolates gave no hint of a specific African parvovirus lineage.
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