Sixteen years ago, scientists discovered a new kind of orbivirus from a mosquito in Yunnan Province, China. Aptly named the Yunnan orbivirus, it has since also been found in Australia and South America.
A new study by UF researchers, which published in Microbiology Resource Announcements, documents that Yunnan orbivirus is now in North America too, after it was identified in a farmed white-tailed deer in Florida. Orbiviruses mostly infect domesticated and wild ruminants and horses, and while some kinds can infect people, the Yunnan orbivirus is not known to.
Study author John Lednicky, a research professor in the College of Public Health and Health Professions, says the discovery is important because veterinarians could have misdiagnosed past animal illnesses, for lack of knowledge that the virus is circulating in the US.
“Preventive vaccines should probably be used, but are not made available for pathogens not known to be present in an area,” Lednicky says. “Here we have an agent that might have been causing illnesses among our farmed and wild animals that were misdiagnosed all along.”Learn more about Yunnan Orbivirus Found in Florida for First Time.