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Detection and genetic diversity of Mopeia virus in Mastomys natalensis from different habitats in the Limpopo National Park, Mozambique

Mapaco L., Crespin L., Rodrigues D., Goüy de Bellocq J., Bryja J., Bourgarel M., Missé D., Caron A., Fafetine J., Cappelle J., Liégeois F.. 2022. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 98 : 7 p..

DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2022.105204

Mammarenaviruses have been a growing concern for public health in Africa since the 1970s when Lassa virus cases in humans were first described in west Africa. In southern Africa, a single outbreak of Lujo virus was reported to date in South Africa in 2008 with a case fatality rate of 80%. The natural reservoir of Lassa virus is Mastomys natalensis while for the Lujo virus the natural host has yet to be identified. Mopeia virus was described for the first time in M. natalensis in the central Mozambique in 1977 but few studies have been conducted in the region. In this study, rodents were trapped between March and November 2019 in villages, croplands fields and mopane woodland forest. The aim was to assess the potential circulation and to evaluate the genetic diversity of mammarenaviruses in M. natalensis trapped in the Limpopo National Park and its buffer zone in Massingir district, Mozambique. A total of 534 M. natalensis were screened by RT-PCR and the overall proportion of positive individuals was 16.9%. No significant differences were detected between the sampled habitats (¿2 = 0.018; DF = 1; p = 0.893). The Mopeia virus (bootstrap value 91%) was the Mammarenavirus circulating in the study area sites, forming a specific sub-clade with eight different sub-clusters. We concluded that Mopeia virus circulates in all habitats investigated and it forms a different sub-clade to the one reported in central Mozambique in 1977.

Mots-clés : virus des animaux; variation génétique; surveillance épidémiologique; maladie des animaux; mozambique; mastomys natalensis; mammarenavirus; virus mopeia

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