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Identification and characterization of multiple porcine astrovirus genotypes in Hunan province, China

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-952
JournalArchives of Virology
Issue number4
Early online date18 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


Astroviruses (AstVs) can infect a variety of hosts, including mammalian and avian species, and are commonly associated with enteric infections. Recently, mammalian AstVs have been linked to extra-intestinal manifestations, including neurologic disorders in humans, cattle and minks, demonstrating zoonotic potential. So far, five porcine AstV (PAstV) genotypes have been identified, with PAstV1, PAstV2, PAstV3 and PAstV5 implicated in cross-species transmission. Our knowledge about PAstV epidemiology in China is still limited. In this study, two duplex differential RT-PCR assays were developed to investigate the distribution and prevalence of PAstV1, PAstV2, PAstV4 and PAstV5. Two hundred eighteen samples were collected from 33 farms and pigs with known diarrhea status in nine regions of Hunan province in China. Specifically, 126 small intestines, 51 fecal swabs, 20 lungs, 19 spleens and two kidneys were obtained. PAstVs were detected in all nine regions and in 81.8% (27/33) of the pig farms investigated. The overall prevalence of PAstV was 46.3% (101/218), with PAstV5 as the predominant type, with a positive rate of 24.8% (54/218). The prevalence of PAstV4, PAstV1 and PAstV2 was 16.1% (35/218), 14.7% (32/218) and 10.1% (22/218), respectively. Besides being present in intestines and fecal swabs, PAstV RNA was also detected in lungs, spleens and kidneys. Sequencing revealed a high level of genetic divergence within each genotype, and a higher positive rate of PAstV5 was associated with pigs with diarrhea compared to pigs without diarrhea. This study revealed for the first time that PAstV4 is circulating in China, and that PAstV5 is the dominant genotype in pig herds in Hunan province in China.

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