martes, 21 de octubre de 2014

Seroprevalence of Norovirus Genogroup IV Antibodies among Humans, Italy, 2010–2011 - Volume 20, Number 11—November 2014 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC


Seroprevalence of Norovirus Genogroup IV Antibodies among Humans, Italy, 2010–2011 - Volume 20, Number 11—November 2014 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC

Volume 20, Number 11—November 2014


Seroprevalence of Norovirus Genogroup IV Antibodies among Humans, Italy, 2010–2011

Barbara Di MartinoComments to Author , Federica Di Profio, Chiara Ceci, Elisabetta Di Felice, Kim Y. Green, Karin Bok, Simona De Grazia, Giovanni M. Giammanco, Ivano Massirio, Eleonora Lorusso, Canio Buonavoglia, Fulvio Marsilio, and Vito Martella
Author affiliations: Università degli Studi di Teramo, Teramo, Italy (B. Di Martino, F. Di Profio, C. Ceci, E. Di Felice, F. Marsilio)National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A. (K.Y. Green, K. Bok)Università degli Studi di Palermo, Palermo, Italy (S. De Grazia, G.M. Giammanco)Azienda USL di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy (I. Massirio)Università Aldo Moro di Bari, Valenzano, Italy (E. Lorusso, C. Buonavoglia, V. Martella)


Noroviruses (NoVs) of genogroup IV (GIV) (Alphatron-like) cause infections in humans and in carnivorous animals such as dogs and cats. We screened an age-stratified collection of serum samples from 535 humans in Italy, using virus-like particles of genotypes GIV.1, circulating in humans, and GIV.2, identified in animals, in ELISA, in order to investigate the prevalence of GIV NoV-specific IgG antibodies. Antibodies specific for both genotypes were detected, ranging from a prevalence of 6.6% to 44.8% for GIV.1 and from 6.8% to 15.1% for GIV.2 among different age groups. These data are consistent with a higher prevalence of GIV.1 strains in the human population. Analysis of antibodies against GIV.2 suggests zoonotic transmission of animal NoVs, likely attributable to interaction between humans and domestic pets. This finding, and recent documentation of human transmission of NoVs to dogs, indicate the possibility of an evolutionary relationship between human and animal NoVs.
Noroviruses (NoVs) are a major cause of epidemic gastroenteritis in children and adults. They cause nearly half of all gastroenteritis cases and >90% of nonbacterial gastroenteritis epidemics worldwide (1). NoVs belong to the genus Norovirus in the family Caliciviridae (2,3). NoV virions are nonenveloped and ≈30 to 35 nm in diameter. The icosahedral capsid surrounds a 7.7-kb positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome covalently linked to viral protein g (VPg) at the 5′ end and polyadenylated at the 3′ end (4). The RNA genome is organized into 3 open reading frames (ORFs). ORF1 encodes a polyprotein that is cleaved by the virus-encoded protease to produce several nonstructural proteins, including the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; ORF2 encodes a major capsid protein, VP1; and ORF3 encodes a small basic protein (VP2) that has been associated with the stability of the capsid (4,5). Based on the full-length VP1 aa sequence, NoVs have been divided into 6 genogroups (GI to GVI) and multiple genotypes (6,7). However, only GI, GII, and GIV NoVs have been shown to infect humans; GII strains are the most prevalent worldwide (4). Human GIV NoV (Alphatron-like) strains have been identified at low prevalence from either sporadic cases or outbreaks of human gastroenteritis (810). However, analysis of wastewater, sewage, and seafood in Japan and Italy has revealed, indirectly, that GIV NoVs are common in humans (1114).
GIV.2 NoVs (strain GIV.2/Pistoia/387/06/ITA) were first detected in the feces of a captive lion cub with severe hemorrhagic enteritis in Italy (15). Subsequently, similar NoVs were identified in fecal samples of dogs and cats with diarrhea (16,17). Sequence comparison in the VP1 of human and animal GIV NoVs has revealed that, although they are genetically related, the 2 groups of viruses represent 2 distinct genotypes: GIV.1 viruses predominate in humans and GIV.2 in animals (7,15). Historical evidence shows that viruses genetically and antigenically closely related to human NoVs might infect animals (1519). Also, a human GII.4 NoV strain has been found to replicate and cause clinical signs and lesions in experimentally-infected gnotobiotic pigs and calves (20,21). These findings have raised public health concerns about potential cross-species transmission and generation of novel human NoV strains by recombination. The close genetic relatedness (17,22) of human and animal GIV NoVs indicates that they may have originated from a common ancestor. Interspecies transmission between humans and pets might have been facilitated by the social interactions established since domestication of small carnivores. This eventuality has been demonstrated firmly in a recent study in Finland, which reported the detection of GII.4 and GII.12 NoVs in the dogs belonging to human patients hospitalized with NoV gastroenteritis (19). To address whether cross-species transmission of GIV.2 might occur between carnivores and humans, we investigated the prevalence of antibodies against GIV.1 and GIV.2 NoVs in a representative population in Italy spanning all age groups.

Dr Di Martino is a researcher at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of Teramo, Italy. Her research interests include the study of human and animal noroviruses, with particular emphasis on development of recombinant diagnostic tools.


This study was supported by grants from the University of Teramo, Italy, and from the Italian Ministry of University and Research, and was also partially funded by the intramural research program of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, US.


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Suggested citation for this article: Di Martino B, Di Profio F, Ceci C, Di Felice E, Green KY, Bok K, et al. Seroprevalence of norovirus genogroup IV antibodies among humans, Italy, 2010–2011. Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Nov [date cited].
DOI: 10.3201/eid2011.131601

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