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Characterization and phylogenetic analysis of new bat astroviruses detected in Gabon, Central Africa

Rougeron V., Suquet E., Maganda G.D., Jiolle D., Mombo I.M., Bourgarel M., Motsch P., Arnathau C., Durand P., Drexler J.F., Drosten C., Renaud F., Prugnolle F., Leroy E.M.. 2016. Acta Virologica, 60 (4) : p. 386-392.

DOI: 10.4149/av_2016_04_386

Astroviruses are emerging RNA viruses that cause enteropathogenic infections in humans and in other mammals. The identification of astroviruses in a wide range of animals highlights the zoonotic importance of these viruses. Bats can harbor many different viruses, among which some are highly pathogenic for humans (for instance, Nipah, Ebola and SARS coronavirus), and also several astroviruses. As some RNA viruses can be directly transmitted from bats to humans, it is crucial to collect data about their frequency, genetic diversity and phylogenetic characterization. In this study, we report the molecular identification of 44 new astroviruses (with a detection rate of 4.5%) in 962 apparently healthy bats that belong to five different species and that were captured in different caves in North-East Gabon, Central Africa. Our results show that bat astroviruses form a group that is genetically distinct from astroviruses infecting other mammals. Moreover, these astroviruses showed an important genetic diversity and low host restriction in bat species.

Mots-clés : virus des animaux; arn; chiroptera; hôte; génétique des populations; phylogénie; variation génétique; mammifère; oiseau; genre humain; identification; gabon; astroviridae

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