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Since transmission-competent mosquito species are abundantly found in cooler climatic regions, further dispersal of the virus is likely.
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The branches of the maximum clade credibility (MCC) tree are coloured on the basis of the most probable location of the descendent nodes.
The numbers on the internal nodes indicate significant posterior probabilities (pp > 0.7), and the scale at the bottom of the tree represents calendar years.
To reconstruct the evolutionary dynamics and epidemiological history of the virus in Italy, 53 envelope gene and 26 complete genome sequences obtained from human and animal samples were characterised by means of next-generation sequencing.
Phylogenetic analysis revealed two Italian strains originating between 20: clade A, which apparently became extinct in 2013–2014, and clade B, which was responsible for the 2018 epidemic.
Our data suggest that WNV-2 entered Italy in 2011 as a result of one or a few penetration events.
Clade B differentiated mainly as a result of genetic drift and purifying selection, leading to the appearance of multiple locally circulating sub-clades for different times.
The main geographical subclades, B1, B2 and B5, are highlighted.
Full article "Figure 4 Mean p-distance between years 20 in clade B Italian isolates.