Six members of the malignant catarrhal fever (MCF) virus group of ruminant rhadinoviruses have been identified to date. Four of these viruses are clearly associated with clinical disease: alcelaphine herpesvirus 1 (AlHV-1) carried by wildebeest (Connochaetes spp.); ovine herpesvirus 2 (OvHV-2), ubiquitous in domestic sheep; caprine herpesvirus 2 (CpHV-2), endemic in domestic goats; and the virus of unknown origin found causing classic MCF in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus; MCFV-WTD). Using serology and polymerase chain reaction with degenerate primers targeting a portion of the herpesviral DNA polymerase gene, evidence of three previously unrecognized rhadinoviruses in the MCF virus group was found in muskox (Ovibos moschatus), Nubian ibex (Capra nubiana), and gemsbok (South African oryx, Oryx gazella), respectively. Based on sequence alignment, the viral sequence in the muskox is most closely related to MCFV-WTD (81.5% sequence identity) and that in the Nubian ibex is closest to CpHV-2 (89.3% identity). The viral sequence in the gemsbok is most closely related to AlHV-1 (85.1% identity). No evidence of disease association with these viruses has been found.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4