Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Journal of General Virology 89:9 (September 2008), pp. 2122–2131

doi: 10.1099/vir.0.2008/001719-0 2122 2008/


Copyright © 2008 SGM. Used by permission.


Buggy Creek virus (BCRV) is an unusual arbovirus within the western equine encephalitis complex of alphaviruses. Associated with cimicid swallow bugs (Oeciacus vicarius) as its vector and the cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) and house sparrow (Passer domesticus) as its amplifying hosts, this virus is found primarily in the western Great Plains of North America at spatially discrete swallow nesting colonies. For 342 isolates collected in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, and North Dakota, from 1974 to 2007, we sequenced a 2076 bp region of the 26S subgenomic RNA structural glycoprotein coding region, and analyzed phylogenetic relationships, rates of evolution, demographical histories and temporal genetic structure of the two BCRV lineages found in the Great Plains. The two lineages showed distinct phylogeographical structure: one lineage was found in the southern Great Plains and the other in the northern Great Plains, and both occurred in Nebraska and Colorado. Within each lineage, there was additional latitudinal division into three distinct sublineages. One lineage is showing a long-term population decline. In comparing sequences taken from the same sites 8–30 years apart, in one case one lineage had been replaced by the other, and in the other cases there was little evidence of the same haplotypes persisting over time. The evolutionary rate of BCRV is in the order of 1.6–3.6 × 10–4 substitutions per site per year, similar to that estimated for other temperate-latitude alphaviruses. The phylogeography and evolution of BCRV could be better understood once we determine the nature of the ecological differences between the lineages.