Aggtelek, Hungary
Aggtelek, Hungary

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Kemenesi G.,University of Pécs | Dallos B.,University of Pécs | Gorfol T.,Hungarian Natural History Museum | Gorfol T.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | And 10 more authors.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases | Year: 2014

Background: Bat-borne viruses pose a potential risk to human health and are the focus of increasing scientific interest. To start gaining information about bat-transmitted viruses in Hungary, we tested multiple bat species for several virus groups between 2012 and 2013. Materials and Methods: Fecal samples were collected from bats across Hungary. We performed group-specific RT-PCR screening for astro-, calici-, corona-, lyssa-, othoreo-, paramyxo-, and rotaviruses. Positive samples were selected and sequenced for further phylogenetic analyses. Results: A total of 447 fecal samples, representing 24 European bat species were tested. Novel strains of astroviruses, coronaviruses, and caliciviruses were detected and analyzed phylogenetically. Out of the 447 tested samples, 40 (9%) bats were positive for at least one virus. Bat-transmitted astroviruses (BtAstV) were detected in eight species with a 6.93% detection rate (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.854, 9.571). Coronaviruses (BtCoV) were detected in seven bat species with a detection rate of 1.79% (95% CI 0.849, 3.348), whereas novel caliciviruses (BtCalV) were detected in three bat species with a detection rate of 0.67% (95% CI 0.189, 1.780). Phylogenetic analyses revealed a great diversity among astrovirus strains, whereas the Hungarian BtCoV strains clustered together with both alpha- and betacoronavirus strains from other European countries. One of the most intriguing findings of our investigation is the discovery of novel BtCalVs in Europe. The Hungarian BtCalV did not cluster with any of the calcivirus genera identified in the family so far. Conclusions: We have successfully confirmed BtCoVs in numerous bat species. Furthermore, we have described new bat species harboring BtAstVs in Europe and found new species of CalVs. Further long-term investigations involving more species are needed in the Central European region for a better understanding on the host specificity, seasonality, phylogenetic relationships, and the possible zoonotic potential of these newly described viruses. © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2014.

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