Detection of novel astroviruses among rodents of Gabon, Central Africa

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Infection, Genetics and Evolution
Detection of novel astroviruses among rodents of Gabon, Central Africa

Plasmodium vivax


Astroviruses (AstVs) are mostly responsible for mild to severe gastroenteritis infections in humans and animals. AstVs infect a wide range of host species, have a large genetic diversity with different circulating variants and are thus a high zoonotic risk for human populations. Among these host species, rodents are known to harbor several AstVs variants. Therefore, it is important to identify in rodent species which AstVs are circulating and evaluate their potential zoonotic risk for humans. In this context, this study aimed to screen the presence of AstVs in 267 rodents trapped in 2012 in Franceville and Makokou, two cities in Gabon. RNA extracted from grinded intestines were used for the screening of AstVs by amplification of a conserved region of the RNA dependent RNA polymerase. Results report the identification of AstVs in 12 individuals (4.6% rate), belonging to three different species including Rattus rattus, Mus musculus and Hybomys univittatus. These findings report the first identification of AstVs in R. rattus and H. univittatus. The phylogenetic analyses indicate host specificity of rodents AstVs. The absence of rodent AstVs within the human AstV clade suggests a low rate of interspecies transmission of these viruses and consequently a low zoonotic risk.

Fig. 1 Maximum-likelihood phylogenetic tree of AstV strains based on the analysis of approximately 386 nucleotides of the RdRp representing almost all groups of Mamastrovirus genus using Genbank accession numbers. Only boostraps values ≥70% were indicated above the branches. The scale bar indicates the number of substitution per sites. Sequences obtained in this study are indicated in bold. The rodent’s species are indicated under the following abbreviations: Af for Apodemus flavicollis, Ec for Eothenomys cachinus, Mm for M. musculus, Ne for Niviventer eha, Ra for Rattus adamanensis, Rn for R. norvegicus, Rr for R. rattus and Vm for Volemys milliciens, Hu for H. univittatus. Red color is for AstVs detected in rats, green for voles and blue for mice, those detected in this study are indicated in bold. The purple color represents AstVs detected in humans in Gabon. Sample sites are also indicated under MKK for Makokou and FCV for Franceville. (For interpretation of the references to color in this figure legend, the reader is referred to the web version of this article.)

logo virginie rougeron researcher cnrs laboratory research

Publication infos

  • Illich Manfred Mombo, Eloïse Suquet, Larson Boundenga, Amandine Mveang-Nzoghe, Claude Maganga-Mboga, Céline Arnathau, Christine Sidobre, Eric M. Leroy, Virginie Rougeron
  • Laboratory MIVEGEC, IRD, CNRS, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France - Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville (CIRMF), BP 769 Franceville, Gabon
  • We thank the Gabonese Government, Total Gabon and CNRS for their financial support and people who helped us to trap the rodents.

See the publication

Infect. Genet. Evol. 68, 43–46 (2019)
DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2018.12.003