Novel paramyxoviruses in free-ranging European bats.
ABSTRACT The zoonotic potential of paramyxoviruses is particularly demonstrated by their broad host range like the highly pathogenic Hendra and Nipah viruses originating from bats. But while so far all bat-borne paramyxoviruses have been identified in fruit bats across Africa, Australia, South America, and Asia, we describe the detection and characterization of the first paramyxoviruses in free-ranging European bats. Moreover, we examined the possible impact of paramyxovirus infection on individual animals by comparing histo-pathological findings and virological results. Organs from deceased insectivorous bats of various species were sampled in Germany and tested for paramyxovirus RNA in parallel to a histo-pathological examination. Nucleic acids of three novel paramyxoviruses were detected, two viruses in phylogenetic relationship to the recently proposed genus Jeilongvirus and one closely related to the genus Rubulavirus. Two infected animals revealed subclinical pathological changes within their kidneys, suggestive of a similar pathogenesis as the one described in fruit bats experimentally infected with Hendra virus.Our findings indicate the presence of bat-born paramyxoviruses in geographic areas free of fruit bat species and therefore emphasize a possible virus-host co-evolution in European bats. Since these novel viruses are related to the very distinct genera Rubulavirus and Jeilongvirus, a similarly broad genetic diversity among paramyxoviruses in other Microchiroptera compared to Megachiroptera can be assumed. Given that the infected bats were either found in close proximity to heavily populated human habitation or areas of intensive agricultural use, a potential risk of the emergence of zoonotic paramyxoviruses in Europe needs to be considered.
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ABSTRACT: 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.Journal of General Virology 09/2000; 81(Pt 8):1927-32. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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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.Reviews in Medical Virology 01/2007; 17(2):67-91. · 7.62 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Flying foxes have been the focus of research into three newly described viruses from the order Mononegavirales, namely Hendra virus (HeV), Menangle virus and Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL). Early investigations indicate that flying foxes are the reservoir host for these viruses. In 1994, two outbreaks of a new zoonotic disease affecting horses and humans occurred in Queensland. The virus which was found to be responsible was called equine morbillivirus (EMV) and has since been renamed HeV. Investigation into the reservoir of HeV has produced evidence that antibodies capable of neutralising HeV have only been detected in flying foxes. Over 20% of flying foxes in eastern Australia have been identified as being seropositive. Additionally six species of flying foxes in Papua New Guinea have tested positive for antibodies to HeV. In 1996 a virus from the family Paramyxoviridae was isolated from the uterine fluid of a female flying fox. Sequencing of 10000 of the 18000 base pairs (bp) has shown that the sequence is identical to the HeV sequence. As part of investigations into HeV, a virus was isolated from a juvenile flying fox which presented with neurological signs in 1996. This virus was characterised as belonging to the family Rhabdoviridae, and was named ABL. Since then four flying fox species and one insectivorous species have tested positive for ABL. The third virus to be detected in flying foxes is Menangle virus, belonging to the family Paramyxoviridae. This virus was responsible for a zoonotic disease affecting pigs and humans in New South Wales in 1997. Antibodies capable of neutralising Menangle virus, were detected in flying foxes.Veterinary Microbiology 09/1999; 68(1-2):83-7. · 3.13 Impact Factor