The relationships between West Nile and Kunjin viruses

Scherret, Jacqueline H.; Poidinger, Michael; Mackenzie, John S.; Broom, Annette K.; Deubel, Vincent; Lipkin, W. Ian; Briese, Thomas; Gould, Ernest A.; Hall, Roy A.

Until recently, West Nile (WN) and Kunjin (KUN) viruses were classified as distinct types in the Flavivirus genus. However, genetic and antigenic studies on isolates of these two viruses indicate that the relationship between them is more complex. To better define this relationship, we performed sequence analyses on 32 isolates of KUN virus and 28 isolates of WN virus from different geographic areas, including a WN isolate from the recent outbreak in New York. Sequence comparisons showed that the KUN virus isolates from Australia were tightly grouped but that the WN virus isolates exhibited substantial divergence and could be differentiated into four distinct groups. KUN virus isolates from Australia were antigenically homologous and distinct from the WN isolates and a Malaysian KUN virus. Our results suggest that KUN and WN viruses comprise a group of closely related viruses that can be differentiated into subgroups on the basis of genetic and antigenic analyses.


Also Published In

Emerging Infectious Diseases

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Infection and Immunity
Published Here
March 17, 2011