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      Virulence Potential of Fusogenic Orthoreoviruses


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          Virus evolution should be monitored because frequent reassortment, which contributes to virus diversity, creates the potential for more severe infections.


          Several severe respiratory virus infections that have emerged during the past decade originated in animals, including bats. In Indonesia, exposure to bats has been associated with increased risk of acquiring orthoreovirus infection. Although orthoreovirus infections are mild and self-limiting, we explored their potential for evolution into a more virulent form. We used conventional virus culture, electron microscopy, and molecular sequencing to isolate and identify orthoreoviruses from 3 patients in whom respiratory tract infection developed after travel to Indonesia. Virus characterization by plaque-reduction neutralization testing showed antigenic similarity, but sequencing of the small segment genes suggested virus reassortment, which could lead to increased virulence. Bats as a reservoir might contribute to virus evolution and genetic diversity, giving orthoreoviruses the potential to become more virulent. Evolution of this virus should be closely monitored so that prevention and control measures can be taken should it become more virulent.

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          Isolation of Hendra virus from pteropid bats: a natural reservoir of Hendra virus.

          Since it was first described in Australia in 1994, Hendra virus (HeV) has caused two outbreaks of fatal disease in horses and humans, and an isolated fatal horse case. Our preliminary studies revealed a high prevalence of neutralizing antibodies to HeV in bats of the genus PTEROPUS:, but it was unclear whether this was due to infection with HeV or a related virus. We developed the hypothesis that HeV excretion from bats might be related to the birthing process and we targeted the reproductive tract for virus isolation. Three virus isolates were obtained from the uterine fluid and a pool of foetal lung and liver from one grey-headed flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), and from the foetal lung of one black flying-fox (P. alecto). Antigenically, these isolates appeared to be closely related to HeV, returning positive results on immunofluorescent antibody staining and constant-serum varying-virus neutralization tests. Using an HeV-specific oligonucleotide primer pair, genomic sequences of the isolates were amplified. Sequencing of 200 nucleotides in the matrix gene identified that these three isolates were identical to HeV. Isolations were confirmed after RNA extracted from original material was positive for HeV RNA when screened on an HeV Taqman assay. The isolation of HeV from pteropid bats corroborates our earlier serological and epidemiological evidence that they are a natural reservoir host of the virus.
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            Bats as a continuing source of emerging infections in humans

            Abstract Amongst the 60 viral species reported to be associated with bats, 59 are RNA viruses, which are potentially important in the generation of emerging and re‐emerging infections in humans. The prime examples of these are the lyssaviruses and Henipavirus. The transmission of Nipah, Hendra and perhaps SARS coronavirus and Ebola virus to humans may involve intermediate amplification hosts such as pigs, horses, civets and primates, respectively. Understanding of the natural reservoir or introductory host, the amplifying host, the epidemic centre and at‐risk human populations are crucial in the control of emerging zoonosis. The association between the bat coronaviruses and certain lyssaviruses with particular bat species implies co‐evolution between specific viruses and bat hosts. Cross‐infection between the huge number of bat species may generate new viruses which are able to jump the trans‐mammalian species barrier more efficiently. The currently known viruses that have been found in bats are reviewed and the risks of transmission to humans are highlighted. Certain families of bats including the Pteropodidae, Molossidae, Phyllostomidae, and Vespertilionidae are most frequently associated with known human pathogens. A systematic survey of bats is warranted to better understand the ecology of these viruses. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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              Identification and Characterization of a New Orthoreovirus from Patients with Acute Respiratory Infections

              First discovered in the early 1950s, reoviruses ( r espiratory e nteric o rphan viruses) were not associated with any known disease, and hence named orphan viruses. Recently, our group reported the isolation of the Melaka virus from a patient with acute respiratory disease and provided data suggesting that this new orthoreovirus is capable of human-to-human transmission and is probably of bat origin. Here we report yet another Melaka-like reovirus (named Kampar virus) isolated from the throat swab of a 54 year old male patient in Kampar, Perak, Malaysia who was suffering from high fever, acute respiratory disease and vomiting at the time of virus isolation. Serological studies indicated that Kampar virus was transmitted from the index case to at least one other individual and caused respiratory disease in the contact case. Sequence analysis of the four small class genome segments indicated that Kampar and Melaka viruses are closely related. This was confirmed by virus neutralization assay, showing an effective two-way cross neutralization, i.e., the serum against one virus was able to neutralize the other. Although the exact origin of Kampar virus is unknown, epidemiological tracing revealed that the house of the index case is surrounded by fruit trees frequently visited by fruit bats. There is a high probability that Kampar virus originated from bats and was transmitted to humans via bat droppings or contaminated fruits. The discovery of Kampar virus highlights the increasing trend of emergence of bat zoonotic viruses and the need to expand our understanding of bats as a source of many unknown viruses.

                Author and article information

                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infect. Dis
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                June 2012
                : 18
                : 6
                : 944-948
                [1]Centre for Health Protection, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Ann H. Wong, 9th Floor, Virology Division, Public Health Laboratory Centre, 382 Nam Cheong St, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China; email: wongha@ 123456yahoo.com

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                fusogenic orthoreovirus,antigenic characterization and phylogenetic analysis,reassortment,virulence,viruses


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