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      Astroviruses in Rabbits


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          A novel astrovirus was found more frequently in rabbits with enteric disease than in asymptomatic animals.


          By screening rabbits with enterocolitis or enteritis complex and asymptomatic rabbits, we identified a novel astrovirus. The virus was distantly related (19.3%–23.7% aa identity) in the capsid precursor to other mammalian astroviruses within the Mamastrovirus genus . By using real-time reverse transcription PCR, with specific primers and probes and targeting a conserved stretch in open reading frame 1b, we found rabbit astrovirus in 10 (43%) of 23 samples from animals with enteric disease and in 25 (18%) of 139 samples from asymptomatic animals in Italy during 2005–2008. The mean and median titers in the positive animals were 10 2× and 10 3× greater, respectively, in the symptomatic animals than in the asymptomatic animals. These findings support the idea that rabbit astroviruses should be included in the diagnostic algorithm of rabbit enteric disease and animal experiments to increase information obtained about their epidemiology and potential pathogenic role.

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          Most cited references30

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          Novel astroviruses in insectivorous bats.

          Bats are increasingly recognized to harbor a wide range of viruses, and in most instances these viruses appear to establish long-term persistence in these animals. They are the reservoir of a number of human zoonotic diseases including Nipah, Ebola, and severe acute respiratory syndrome. We report the identification of novel groups of astroviruses in apparently healthy insectivorous bats found in Hong Kong, in particular, bats belonging to the genera Miniopterus and Myotis. Astroviruses are important causes of diarrhea in many animal species, including humans. Many of the bat astroviruses form distinct phylogenetic clusters in the genus Mamastrovirus within the family Astroviridae. Virus detection rates of 36% to 100% and 50% to 70% were found in Miniopterus magnater and Miniopterus pusillus bats, respectively, captured within a single bat habitat during four consecutive visits spanning 1 year. There was high genetic diversity of viruses in bats found within this single habitat. Some bat astroviruses may be phylogenetically related to human astroviruses, and further studies with a wider range of bat species in different geographic locations are warranted. These findings are likely to provide new insights into the ecology and evolution of astroviruses and reinforce the role of bats as a reservoir of viruses with potential to pose a zoonotic threat to human health.
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            Multiple novel astrovirus species in human stool.

            Diarrhoea remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries where numerous cases remain without identified aetiology. Astroviruses are a recently identified cause of animal gastroenteritis which currently includes two species suspected of causing human diarrhoea. Using pan-astrovirus RT-PCR, we analysed human stool samples from different continents for astrovirus-related RNA sequences. We identified variants of the two known human astrovirus species plus, based on genetic distance criteria, three novel astrovirus species all distantly related to mink and ovine astroviruses, which we provisionally named HMOAstV species A-C. The complete genome of species A displayed all the conserved characteristics of mammalian astroviruses. Each of the now three groups of astroviruses found in human stool (HAstV, AstV-MLB and HMOAstV) were more closely related to animal astroviruses than to each other, indicating that human astroviruses may periodically emerge from zoonotic transmissions. Based on the pathogenic impact of their closest phylogenetic relatives in animals, further investigations of the role of HMOAstV, so far detected in Nigeria, Nepal and Pakistan, in human gastroenteritis are warranted.
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              Isolation of small viruses resembling astroviruses and caliciviruses from acute enteritis of calves.

              Small round viruses (SRV) were isolated from the faeces of diarrhoeic calves from three farms. All three SRV preparations caused diarrhoea experimentally in gnotobiotic calves. Each preparation contained viral particles of two morphological types, "astrovirus-like" and "calicivirus-like", and from one preparation the two particle types were separated from each other. The calicivirus-like agent ("Newbury agent") was 33 nm in diameter, and caused diarrhoea in gnotobiotic calves with villous atrophy and D-xylose malabsorption. This virus did not infect cell cultures. The astrovirus-like agent did not cause diarrhoea in two gnotobiotic calves; however, it infected cell cultures (primary calf kidney) and the infected cells immunofluoresced with convalescent gnotobiotic-calf antiserum. The astrovirus-like agents in the three preparations were antigenically related. Experiments in calves showed that there was a degree of cross-protection between the three SRV preparations, as judged by the presence or absence of diarrhoea, but that at least three unrelated pathogens were present.

                Author and article information

                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infect. Dis
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                December 2011
                : 17
                : 12
                : 2287-2293
                [1]University of Bari Aldo Moro, Valenzano, Italy (V. Martella, P. Moschidou, P. Pinto, C. Catella, C. Desario, V. Larocca, E. Circella, N. Decaro, C. Buonavoglia);
                [2]Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary (K. Bànyai);
                [3]Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale di Lombardia ed Emilia Romagna, Brescia, Italy (A. Lavazza);
                [4]Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale di Marche ed Umbria, Perugia, Italy (C. Magistrali)
                Author notes
                Address for correespondence: Vito Martella, Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica e Zootecnia, Facoltà di Medicina Veterinaria di Bar, S.p. per Casamassima, Km 3- 70010, Valenzano, Bari, Italy; email: v.martella@ 123456veterinaria.uniba.it

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                colitis, rabbit, viruses, astrovirus, enteritis


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