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Colorado tick fever (CTF) virus, family Reoviridae, genus Orbivirus, contains 12 genes distinguishable by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). Multiple genotypes of CTF virus were isolated at 3 field sites in Colorado in 1985. Five genotypes were found at Campos Cabin, 2 at Drake, and 6 at Rocky Mountain National Park. Virus isolations were made in 1985 from 6 patients with CTF. These isolates were distinct from each other and the field isolates.
Although the CTF isolates were different by PAGE profile, the majority of the 12 genes were highly conserved among the 1985 isolates and a Florio isolate (FMA). Only genes 4 and 6 were variant among the 1985 CTF isolates and FMA, and no unique genes were identified.
In 1986, a follow-up field survey was done at the Campos Cabin site. Of the 3 CTF PAGE genotypes obtained, 2 exhibited PAGE profiles which were different from the 1985 isolates. One isolate may have resulted from the reassortment of genes from 2 of the isolates circulating at Campos Cabin in 1985.