Flanders virus (FLAV; family Rhabdoviridae) is a mosquito-borne hapavirus with no known pathology that is frequently isolated during arbovirus surveillance programs. Here, we document the presence of FLAV in Culex tarsalis mosquitoes and a Canada goose (Branta canadensis) collected in western North America, outside of the currently recognized range of FLAV. Until now, FLAV-like viruses detected in the western United States were assumed to be Hart Park virus (HPV, family Rhabdoviridae), a closely related congener. A re-examination of archived viral isolates revealed that FLAV was circulating in California as early as 1963. FLAV also was isolated in Nebraska, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Saskatchewan, Canada. Phylogenetic analysis of the U1 pseudogene for 117 taxa and eight nuclear genes for 15 taxa demonstrated no distinct clustering between western FLAV isolates. Assuming the range of FLAV has been expanding west, these results indicate that FLAV likely spread west following multiple invasion events. However, it remains to be determined if the detection of FLAV in western North America is due to expansion or is a result of enhanced arbovirus surveillance or diagnostic techniques. Currently, the impact of FLAV infection remains unknown.
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