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Kobuvirus in Domestic Sheep, Hungary | CDC EID

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Volume 16, Number 5–May 2010
Kobuvirus in Domestic Sheep, Hungary
Gábor Reuter, Ákos Boros, Péter Pankovics, and László Egyed
Author affiliations: ÁNTSZ Regional Institute of State Public Health Service, Pécs, Hungary (G. Reuter, Á. Boros, P. Pankovics); and Veterinary Medical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary (L. Egyed)

Suggested citation for this article

To the Editor: Picornaviruses (family Picornaviridae) are small, nonenveloped viruses with single-stranded, positive-sense genomic RNA. They are divided into 12 genera: Enterovirus, Aphthovirus, Cardiovirus, Hepatovirus, Parechovirus, Erbovirus, Teschovirus, Sapelovirus, Senecavirus, Tremovirus, Avihepatovirus, and Kobuvirus. The genus Kobuvirus consists of 2 officially recognized species, Aichi virus (1) and Bovine kobuvirus (2), and 1 candidate species, porcine kobuvirus (3). The kobuvirus genome is ≈8.2–8.4 kb long and has the typical picornavirus genome organization of leader (L) protein following the structural (viral protein [VP] 0, VP3, and VP1) and nonstructural (2A–2C and 3A–3D) regions (2,4). The genetic identity on the coding region between Aichi (strain A846/88), bovine (U-1), and porcine (S-1-HUN) viruses is between 35% (L protein) and 74% (3D region) (2,4).

Aichi virus and bovine kobuvirus were first detected in fecal samples from humans and cattle in Japan, in 1991 and 2003, respectively (1,2). Porcine kobuvirus was identified from domestic pigs in Hungary in 2008 (3,4). Recent studies demonstrated that Aichi virus circulates in Asia (5), Europe (6,7) including Hungary (4), South America (6), and North Africa (8) and can cause gastroenteritis in humans. In addition, bovine and porcine kobuviruses are detected among these farm animals in Europe (4) and Asia (2,9). These data indicate that kobuviruses are widely distributed geographically and raise the possibility of additional animal host species. We detected kobuvirus in sheep.

On March 17, 2009, a total of 8 fecal samples were collected from young, healthy, domestic sheep (Ovis aries) <3 weeks of age in a herd of 400 animals in central Hungary. At this farm, merino ewes from Hungary were mated with blackhead meat rams from Germany. At the time of sampling, no clinical signs of diarrhea were reported. Reverse transcription–PCR was performed by using generic kobuvirus screening primers (UNIV-kobu-R/F) reported previously (4). These primers were designed for Aichi virus (GenBank accession no. AB040749), bovine (AB084788), and porcine kobuvirus (EU787450) sequences and amplify a 216-nt region of 3D (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase region). The continuous 3D and 3´ untranslated regions (UTRs) of the kobuvirus genome in sheep were determined by using the 5´/3´ RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) kit, 2nd generation (Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim, Germany) and primers UNIV-kobu-F and S-1-F-7518/7540 (5´-CACTTCCATCATCAACACCATCA-3´ corresponding to nt 7518–7540 of bovine kobuvirus) (4). PCR products were sequenced directly in both directions by using the BigDye Reaction Kit (Applied Biosystems, Warrington, UK) with the PCR primers and sequenced by an ABI PRISM 310 Genetic Analyzer (Applied Biosystems, Stafford, TX, USA). Phylogenetic analysis was conducted by using MEGA version 4.1 ( The sequence for kobuvirus/sheep/TB3-HUN/2009/Hungary was submitted to GenBank under accession no. GU245693.

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Kobuvirus in Domestic Sheep, Hungary | CDC EID

Suggested Citation for this Article
Reuter G, Boros Á, Pankovics P, Egyed L. Kobuvirus in domestic sheep, Hungary [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2010 May [date cited].

DOI: 10.3201/eid1605.091934

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