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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Geographical Distribution and Genetic Diversity of Bank Vole Hepaciviruses in Europe

Schneider, Julia; Hoffmann, Bernd; Fevola, Cristina; Schmidt, Marie Luisa; Imholt, Christian; Fischer, Stefan; Ecke, Frauke; Hoernfeldt, Birger; Magnusson, Magnus; Olsson, Gert E.; Rizzoli, Annapaola; Tagliapietra, Valentina; Chiari, Mario; Reusken, Chantal; Buzan, Elena; Kazimirova, Maria; Stanko, Michal; White, Thomas A.; Reil, Daniela; Obiegala, Anna; Meredith, Anna; Drexler, Jan Felix; Essbauer, Sandra; Henttonen, Heikki; Jacob, Jens; Hauffe, Heidi C.; Beer, Martin; Heckel, Gerald; Ulrich, Rainer G.
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Abstract

The development of new diagnostic methods resulted in the discovery of novel hepaciviruses in wild populations of the bank vole (Myodes glareolus, syn. Clethrionomys glareolus). The naturally infected voles demonstrate signs of hepatitis similar to those induced by hepatitis C virus (HCV) in humans. The aim of the present research was to investigate the geographical distribution of bank vole-associated hepaciviruses (BvHVs) and their genetic diversity in Europe. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) screening revealed BvHV RNA in 442 out of 1838 (24.0%) bank voles from nine European countries and in one of seven northern red-backed voles (Myodes rutilus, syn. Clethrionomys rutilus). BvHV RNA was not found in any other small mammal species (n = 23) tested here. Phylogenetic and isolation-by-distance analyses confirmed the occurrence of both BvHV species (Hepacivirus F and Hepacivirus J) and their sympatric occurrence at several trapping sites in two countries. The broad geographical distribution of BvHVs across Europe was associated with their presence in bank voles of different evolutionary lineages. The extensive geographical distribution and high levels of genetic diversity of BvHVs, as well as the high population fluctuations of bank voles and occasional commensalism in some parts of Europe warrant future studies on the zoonotic potential of BvHVs.

Keywords

bank vole hepaciviruses; HCV; Hepacivirus F; Hepacivirus J; rodent-borne pathogen; Europe; emerging virus

Published in

Viruses
2021, volume: 13, number: 7, article number: 1258
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Schneider, Julia
Humboldt University of Berlin
Hoffmann, Bernd
Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Fevola, Cristina
University of Helsinki
Schmidt, Marie Luisa
Humboldt University of Berlin
Imholt, Christian
Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)
Fischer, Stefan
Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Rizzoli, Annapaola
Fondazione Edmund Mach
Tagliapietra, Valentina
Fondazione Edmund Mach
Chiari, Mario
Direzione Generale Welfare
Reusken, Chantal
Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and the Environment
Buzan, Elena
University of Primorska
Kazimirova, Maria
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Stanko, Michal
Slovak Academy of Sciences
White, Thomas A.
Lancaster University
Reil, Daniela
Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)
Obiegala, Anna
Leipzig University
Meredith, Anna
University of Melbourne
Drexler, Jan Felix
Humboldt University of Berlin
Essbauer, Sandra
Bundeswehr Inst Microbiol
Henttonen, Heikki
Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)
Jacob, Jens
Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)
Hauffe, Heidi C.
Fondazione Edmund Mach
Beer, Martin
Friedrich Loeffler Institute
Heckel, Gerald
University of Bern
Ulrich, Rainer G.
Friedrich Loeffler Institute
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UKÄ Subject classification

Microbiology
Evolutionary Biology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/v13071258

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/113242