Special Issue "Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kateri Bertran
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology, Research Centre of Animal Health (IRTA-CReSA), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Interests: veterinary; zoonoses; infectious diseases; pathogenesis; pathology; virus–host interaction; poultry; avian influenza; vaccines
Dr. Martí Cortey
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Animal Health and Anatomy, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, Authonomous University of Barcelona, (UAB), Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Interests: population genetics; evolution; phylogenetics; virology; bioinformatics; biostatistics
Dr. Miria F. Criado
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Vaccines and Immunology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
Interests: respiratory viruses; influenza; one health; pathogenesis; immune response; virus–host interactions; zoonoses; vaccines

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Viral infectious diseases represent a major concern for human and animal health. The spread of viral infections within populations of the same species, or even the spillover to new species, depends on numerous aspects, including the ability of infected individuals to shed virus into the environment and infect susceptible ones. The specific host–virus adaptation, viral evolution, host immunity and genetics, viral environmental stability, and other factors can impact the ability of viruses to break the species barrier. Ultimately, viral shedding and transmission will determine whether viral infectious diseases will spread and transmit to new hosts or be controlled.

In this Special Issue, we cordially invite you to submit a research article, review article, or communication related to one or more of the aspects of viral shedding and transmission in the context of zoonotic diseases: viral replication, progeny fitness, quasi-species, pathogenesis, infectivity and transmission, evolutionary biology, and host switching.

Dr. Kateri Bertran
Dr. Martí Cortey
Dr. Miria F. Criado
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Viruses is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • virus
  • viral replication
  • zoonosis
  • host switching
  • transmission
  • pathogenesis
  • fitness
  • evolution

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Previous Usutu Virus Exposure Partially Protects Magpies (Pica pica) against West Nile Virus Disease But Does Not Prevent Horizontal Transmission
Viruses 2021, 13(7), 1409; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13071409 - 20 Jul 2021
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Abstract
The mosquito-borne flaviviruses USUV and WNV are known to co-circulate in large parts of Europe. Both are a public health concern, and USUV has been the cause of epizootics in both wild and domestic birds, and neurological cases in humans in Europe. Here, [...] Read more.
The mosquito-borne flaviviruses USUV and WNV are known to co-circulate in large parts of Europe. Both are a public health concern, and USUV has been the cause of epizootics in both wild and domestic birds, and neurological cases in humans in Europe. Here, we explore the susceptibility of magpies to experimental USUV infection, and how previous exposure to USUV would affect infection with WNV. None of the magpies exposed to USUV showed clinical signs, viremia, or detectable neutralizing antibodies. After challenge with a neurovirulent WNV strain, neither viremia, viral titer of WNV in vascular feathers, nor neutralizing antibody titers of previously USUV-exposed magpies differed significantly with respect to magpies that had not previously been exposed to USUV. However, 75% (6/8) of the USUV-exposed birds survived, while only 22.2% (2/9) of those not previously exposed to USUV survived. WNV antigen labeling by immunohistochemistry in tissues was less evident and more restricted in magpies exposed to USUV prior to challenge with WNV. Our data indicate that previous exposure to USUV partially protects magpies against a lethal challenge with WNV, while it does not prevent viremia and direct transmission, although the mechanism is unclear. These results are relevant for flavivirus ecology and contention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases)
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Communication
Virus Adaptation Following Experimental Infection of Chickens with a Domestic Duck Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza Isolate from the 2017 USA H7N9 Outbreak Identifies Polymorphic Mutations in Multiple Gene Segments
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1166; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13061166 - 18 Jun 2021
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Abstract
In March 2017, highly pathogenic (HP) and low pathogenic (LP) avian influenza virus (AIV) subtype H7N9 were detected from poultry farms and backyard birds in several states in the southeast United States. Because interspecies transmission is a known mechanism for evolution of AIVs, [...] Read more.
In March 2017, highly pathogenic (HP) and low pathogenic (LP) avian influenza virus (AIV) subtype H7N9 were detected from poultry farms and backyard birds in several states in the southeast United States. Because interspecies transmission is a known mechanism for evolution of AIVs, we sought to characterize infection and transmission of a domestic duck-origin H7N9 LPAIV in chickens and genetically compare the viruses replicating in the chickens to the original H7N9 clinical field samples used as inoculum. The results of the experimental infection demonstrated virus replication and transmission in chickens, with overt clinical signs of disease and shedding through both oral and cloacal routes. Unexpectedly, higher levels of virus shedding were observed in some cloacal swabs. Next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis identified numerous non-synonymous mutations at the consensus level in the polymerase genes (i.e., PA, PB1, and PB2) and the hemagglutinin (HA) receptor binding site in viruses recovered from chickens, indicating possible virus adaptation in the new host. For comparison, NGS analysis of clinical samples obtained from duck specimen collected during the outbreak indicated three polymorphic sides in the M1 segment and a minor population of viruses carrying the D139N (21.4%) substitution in the NS1 segment. Interestingly, at consensus level, A/duck/Alabama (H7N9) had isoleucine at position 105 in NP protein, similar to HPAIV (H7N9) but not to LPAIV (H7N9) isolated from the same 2017 influenza outbreak in the US. Taken together, this work demonstrates that the H7N9 viruses could readily jump between avian species, which may have contributed to the evolution of the virus and its spread in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases)
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Article
Subclinical Infection and Transmission of Clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus in Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) and Domestic Pigeon (Columbia livia domestica)
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 1069; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13061069 - 04 Jun 2021
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Abstract
Since 2014, H5Nx clade 2.3.4.4 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) have caused outbreaks in wild birds and poultry in multiple continents, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. Wild birds were suspected to be the sources of the local and global spreads [...] Read more.
Since 2014, H5Nx clade 2.3.4.4 highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) have caused outbreaks in wild birds and poultry in multiple continents, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and North America. Wild birds were suspected to be the sources of the local and global spreads of HPAIV. This study evaluated the infectivity, pathogenicity, and transmissibility of clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 HPAIV in mandarin ducks (Aixgalericulata) and domestic pigeons (Columbia livia domestica). None of the birds used in this study, 20 mandarin ducks or 8 pigeons, showed clinical signs or mortality due to H5N6 HPAI infection. Two genotypes of H5N6 HPAIV showed replication and transmission by direct and indirect contact between mandarin ducks. H5N6 HPAIV replicated and transmitted by direct contact between pigeons, although the viral shedding titer and duration were relatively lower and shorter than those in mandarin ducks. Influenza virus antigen was detected in various internal organs of infected mandarin ducks and pigeons, indicating systemic infection. Therefore, our results indicate mandarin ducks and pigeons can be subclinically infected with clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 HPAIV and transfer the virus to adjacent birds. The role of mandarin ducks and pigeons in the spread and prevalence of clade 2.3.4.4 H5N6 viruses should be carefully monitored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases)
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Article
Molecular Characterization of Closely Related H6N2 Avian Influenza Viruses Isolated from Turkey, Egypt, and Uganda
Viruses 2021, 13(4), 607; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13040607 - 02 Apr 2021
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Abstract
Genetic analysis of circulating avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in wild birds at different geographical regions during the same period could improve our knowledge about virus transmission dynamics in natural hosts, virus evolution as well as zoonotic potential. Here, we report the genetic and [...] Read more.
Genetic analysis of circulating avian influenza viruses (AIVs) in wild birds at different geographical regions during the same period could improve our knowledge about virus transmission dynamics in natural hosts, virus evolution as well as zoonotic potential. Here, we report the genetic and molecular characterization of H6N2 influenza viruses isolated from migratory birds in Turkey, Egypt, and Uganda during 2017–2018. The Egyptian and Turkish isolates were genetically closer to each other than they were to the virus isolated from Uganda. Our results also suggest that multiple reassortment events were involved in the genesis of the isolated viruses. All viruses contained molecular markers previously associated with increased replication and/or pathogenicity in mammals. The results of this study indicate that H6N2 viruses carried by migratory birds on the West Asian/East African and Mediterranean/Black Sea flyways have the potential to transmit to mammals including humans. Additionally, adaptation markers in these viruses indicate the potential risk for poultry, which also increases the possibility of human exposure to these viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases)
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Review

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Review
Airborne Transmission of Avian Origin H9N2 Influenza A Viruses in Mammals
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 1919; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13101919 - 24 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Influenza A viruses (IAV) are widespread viruses affecting avian and mammalian species worldwide. IAVs from avian species can be transmitted to mammals including humans and, thus, they are of inherent pandemic concern. Most of the efforts to understand the pathogenicity and transmission of [...] Read more.
Influenza A viruses (IAV) are widespread viruses affecting avian and mammalian species worldwide. IAVs from avian species can be transmitted to mammals including humans and, thus, they are of inherent pandemic concern. Most of the efforts to understand the pathogenicity and transmission of avian origin IAVs have been focused on H5 and H7 subtypes due to their highly pathogenic phenotype in poultry. However, IAV of the H9 subtype, which circulate endemically in poultry flocks in some regions of the world, have also been associated with cases of zoonotic infections. In this review, we discuss the mammalian transmission of H9N2 and the molecular factors that are thought relevant for this spillover, focusing on the HA segment. Additionally, we discuss factors that have been associated with the ability of these viruses to transmit through the respiratory route in mammalian species. The summarized information shows that minimal amino acid changes in the HA and/or the combination of H9N2 surface genes with internal genes of human influenza viruses are enough for the generation of H9N2 viruses with the ability to transmit via aerosol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases)
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Other

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Brief Report
Astrovirus in Reunion Free-Tailed Bat (Mormopterus francoismoutoui)
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1524; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13081524 - 02 Aug 2021
Viewed by 518
Abstract
Astroviruses (AstVs) are RNA viruses infecting a large diversity of avian and mammalian species, including bats, livestock, and humans. We investigated AstV infection in a free-tailed bat species, Mormopterus francoismoutoui, endemic to Reunion Island. A total of 380 guano samples were collected [...] Read more.
Astroviruses (AstVs) are RNA viruses infecting a large diversity of avian and mammalian species, including bats, livestock, and humans. We investigated AstV infection in a free-tailed bat species, Mormopterus francoismoutoui, endemic to Reunion Island. A total of 380 guano samples were collected in a maternity colony during 38 different sampling sessions, from 21 June 2016 to 4 September 2018. Each sample was tested for the presence of the AstV RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase (RdRp) gene using a pan-AstV semi-nested polymerase chain reaction assay. In total, 27 guano samples (7.1%) tested positive, with high genetic diversity of the partial RdRp gene sequences among positive samples. Phylogenetic analysis further revealed that the detected viruses were genetically related to AstVs reported in rats, reptiles, dogs, and pigs, but did not cluster with AstVs commonly found in bats. Although more investigations need to be conducted to assess the prevalence of infected bats in the studied population, our findings show that Reunion free-tailed bats are exposed to AstVs, and suggest that cross-species transmission may occur with other hosts sharing the same habitat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Shedding and Transmission in Zoonotic Diseases)
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