Special Issue "Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Subir Sarker
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Molecular and Structural Virology Laboratory, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, La Trobe University, Victoria 3086, Australia
Interests: virus evolution; viral metagenomics; wildlife diseases; veterinary virology; viral protein structure and function; recombinant vaccines; animal immunology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emerging or re-emerging viral diseases/infectious is identified as an apparently growing trend of disease threats to wildlife, and act as the source of a series of high-impact, recently emerging pathogens affecting humans. Most emerging viral pathogens, including Ebola and Marburg virus, human immunodeficiency virus virus-1 and -2, Nipah, Hendra and Menangle virus, West Nile virus, Middle East respiratory syndrome and different subtypes of avian influenza, originate in wildlife and spillover into human hosts due to a range of ecological, demographic and socio-economic changes. Diseases caused by viruses, recently exemplified by the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) to human populations, also threaten wild animals from amphibians to mammals. Habitat destructions, pollution, and international trade are among factors contributing to a growing opportunity for viruses to spread to new hosts and cause disease.

This Special Issue aims to bring attention to recurrent or new viral diseases affecting wildlife and to discuss recent advances in diagnostics, pathogenesis, viral/host-pathogen interactions, and evolutionary ecology.

Dr. Subir Sarker
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Newlavirus, a Novel, Highly Prevalent, and Highly Diverse Protoparvovirus of Foxes (Vulpes spp.)
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 1969; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13101969 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 310
Abstract
The genus Protoparvovirus (family Parvoviridae) includes several viruses of carnivores. We describe a novel fox protoparvovirus, which we named Newlavirus as it was discovered in samples from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Analysis of the full non-structural protein (NS1) sequence indicates that this [...] Read more.
The genus Protoparvovirus (family Parvoviridae) includes several viruses of carnivores. We describe a novel fox protoparvovirus, which we named Newlavirus as it was discovered in samples from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Analysis of the full non-structural protein (NS1) sequence indicates that this virus is a previously uncharacterized species. Newlavirus showed high prevalence in foxes from both the mainland (Labrador, 54/137, 39.4%) and the island of Newfoundland (22/50, 44%) but was not detected in samples from other carnivores, including coyotes (n = 92), lynx (n = 58), martens (n = 146), mink (n = 47), ermines (n = 17), dogs (n = 48), and ringed (n = 4), harp (n = 6), bearded (n = 6), and harbor (n = 2) seals. Newlavirus was found at similar rates in stool and spleen (24/80, 30% vs. 59/152, 38.8%, p = 0.2) but at lower rates in lymph nodes (2/37, 5.4%, p < 0.01). Sequencing a fragment of approximately 750 nt of the capsid protein gene from 53 samples showed a high frequency of co-infection by more than one strain (33.9%), high genetic diversity with 13 genotypes with low sequence identities (70.5–87.8%), and no geographic segregation of strains. Given the high prevalence, high diversity, and the lack of identification in other species, foxes are likely the natural reservoir of Newlavirus, and further studies should investigate its distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases)
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Article
Detection and Complete Genome Analysis of Circoviruses and Cycloviruses in the Small Indian Mongoose (Urva auropunctata): Identification of Novel Species
Viruses 2021, 13(9), 1700; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13091700 - 27 Aug 2021
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Abstract
Fecal samples from 76 of 83 apparently healthy small Indian mongooses (Urva auropunctata) were PCR positive with circovirus/cyclovirus pan-rep (replicase gene) primers. In this case, 30 samples yielded high quality partial rep sequences (~400 bp), of which 26 sequences shared [...] Read more.
Fecal samples from 76 of 83 apparently healthy small Indian mongooses (Urva auropunctata) were PCR positive with circovirus/cyclovirus pan-rep (replicase gene) primers. In this case, 30 samples yielded high quality partial rep sequences (~400 bp), of which 26 sequences shared maximum homology with cycloviruses from an arthropod, bats, humans or a sheep. Three sequences exhibited maximum identities with a bat circovirus, whilst a single sequence could not be assigned to either genus. Using inverse nested PCRs, the complete genomes of mongoose associated circoviruses (Mon-1, -29 and -66) and cycloviruses (Mon-20, -24, -32, -58, -60 and -62) were determined. Mon-1, -20, -24, -29, -32 and -66 shared <80% maximum genome-wide pairwise nucleotide sequence identities with circoviruses/cycloviruses from other animals/sources, and were assigned to novel circovirus, or cyclovirus species. Mon-58, -60 and -62 shared maximum pairwise identities of 79.90–80.20% with human and bat cycloviruses, which were borderline to the cut-off identity value for assigning novel cycloviral species. Despite high genetic diversity, the mongoose associated circoviruses/cycloviruses retained the various features that are conserved among members of the family Circoviridae, such as presence of the putative origin of replication (ori) in the 5′-intergenic region, conserved motifs in the putative replication-associated protein and an arginine rich region in the amino terminus of the putative capsid protein. Since only fecal samples were tested, and mongooses are polyphagous predators, we could not determine whether the mongoose associated circoviruses/cycloviruses were of dietary origin, or actually infected the host. To our knowledge, this is the first report on detection and complete genome analysis of circoviruses/cycloviruses in the small Indian mongoose, warranting further studies in other species of mongooses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases)
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Article
A New Molecular Detection System for Canine Distemper Virus Based on a Double-Check Strategy
Viruses 2021, 13(8), 1632; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13081632 - 18 Aug 2021
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Abstract
Due to changing distemper issues worldwide and to inadequate results of an inter-laboratory study in Germany, it seems sensible to adapt and optimize the diagnostic methods for the detection of the canine distemper virus (CDV) to the new genetic diversity of virus strains. [...] Read more.
Due to changing distemper issues worldwide and to inadequate results of an inter-laboratory study in Germany, it seems sensible to adapt and optimize the diagnostic methods for the detection of the canine distemper virus (CDV) to the new genetic diversity of virus strains. The goal of the project was the development, establishment and validation of two independent one-step reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) methods for the safe detection of CDV in domestic and wild animals. For this purpose, an existing CDV-RT-qPCR was decisively adapted and, in addition, a completely new system was developed. Both CDV-RT-qPCR systems are characterized by a very high, comparable analytical and diagnostic sensitivity and specificity and can be mutually combined with inhibition or extraction controls. The reduction in the master mix used allows for the parallel implementation of both CDV-RT-qPCR systems without significant cost increases. For validation of the new CDV-RT-qPCR duplex assays, a panel comprising 378 samples derived from Germany, several European countries and one African country were tested. A sensitivity of 98.9% and a specificity of 100% were computed for the new assays, thus being a reliable molecular diagnostic tool for the detection of CDV in domestic and wild animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases)
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Article
A Versatile qPCR for Diagnosis of Leporid Gammaherpesvirus 5 Using Evagreen® or Taqman® Technologies
Viruses 2021, 13(4), 715; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13040715 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 606
Abstract
In late 2019, the first herpesvirus in the genus Lepus, named leporid gammaherpesvirus 5 (LeHV-5) was described. At the time, herpetic typical lesions were observed in hares infected by the myxoma virus, which is known to induce immunosuppression. Though the real impact of [...] Read more.
In late 2019, the first herpesvirus in the genus Lepus, named leporid gammaherpesvirus 5 (LeHV-5) was described. At the time, herpetic typical lesions were observed in hares infected by the myxoma virus, which is known to induce immunosuppression. Though the real impact of LeHV-5 is still poorly understood, since it affects reproduction, it poses an additional threat to the already fragile populations of Iberian hare, demanding prevalence investigations. In this article, we describe the first quantitative molecular method for LeHV-5 detection, using either Taqman or the EvaGreen systems. This method has excellent sensitivity and specificity, it is able to detect 2.1 copies of LeHV-5 DNA and was validated with an internal control targeting the 18S rRNA gene, allowing monitoring extraction and PCR amplification efficiencies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases)
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Article
Emergence of a Novel Pathogenic Poxvirus Infection in the Endangered Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Highlights a Key Threatening Process
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 219; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020219 - 31 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1119
Abstract
Emerging viral disease is a significant concern, with potential consequences for human, animal and environmental health. Over the past several decades, multiple novel viruses have been found in wildlife species, including reptiles, and often pose a major threat to vulnerable species. However, whilst [...] Read more.
Emerging viral disease is a significant concern, with potential consequences for human, animal and environmental health. Over the past several decades, multiple novel viruses have been found in wildlife species, including reptiles, and often pose a major threat to vulnerable species. However, whilst a large number of viruses have been described in turtles, information on poxvirus in cheloniids remains scarce, with no molecular sequence data available to date. This study characterizes, for the first time, a novel poxvirus, here tentatively designated cheloniid poxvirus 1 (ChePV-1). The affected cutaneous tissue, recovered from a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) captured off the Central Queensland coast of Australia, underwent histological examination, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), DNA extraction and genomic sequencing. The novel ChePV-1 was shown to be significantly divergent from other known poxviruses and showed the highest sequence similarity (89.3%) to avipoxviruses (shearwater poxvirus 2 (SWPV2)). This suggests the novel ChePV-1 may have originated from a common ancestor that diverged from an avipoxvirus-like progenitor. The genome contained three predicted unique genes and a further 15 genes being truncated/fragmented compared to SWPV2. This is the first comprehensive study that demonstrates evidence of poxvirus infection in a marine turtle species, as well as a rare example of an avipoxvirus crossing the avian-host barrier. This finding warrants further investigations into poxvirus infections between species in close physical proximity, as well as in vitro and in vivo studies of pathogenesis and disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases)
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Review

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Review
Flavivirus Persistence in Wildlife Populations
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 2099; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13102099 (registering DOI) - 18 Oct 2021
Abstract
A substantial number of humans are at risk for infection by vector-borne flaviviruses, resulting in considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. These viruses also infect wildlife at a considerable rate, persistently cycling between ticks/mosquitoes and small mammals and reptiles and non-human primates and humans. [...] Read more.
A substantial number of humans are at risk for infection by vector-borne flaviviruses, resulting in considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. These viruses also infect wildlife at a considerable rate, persistently cycling between ticks/mosquitoes and small mammals and reptiles and non-human primates and humans. Substantially increasing evidence of viral persistence in wildlife continues to be reported. In addition to in humans, viral persistence has been shown to establish in mammalian, reptile, arachnid, and mosquito systems, as well as insect cell lines. Although a considerable amount of research has centered on the potential roles of defective virus particles, autophagy and/or apoptosis-induced evasion of the immune response, and the precise mechanism of these features in flavivirus persistence have yet to be elucidated. In this review, we present findings that aid in understanding how vector-borne flavivirus persistence is established in wildlife. Research studies to be discussed include determining the critical roles universal flavivirus non-structural proteins played in flaviviral persistence, the advancement of animal models of viral persistence, and studying host factors that allow vector-borne flavivirus replication without destructive effects on infected cells. These findings underscore the viral–host relationships in wildlife animals and could be used to elucidate the underlying mechanisms responsible for the establishment of viral persistence in these animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases)
Review
Mosquito-Borne Viruses and Non-Human Vertebrates in Australia: A Review
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 265; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020265 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1155
Abstract
Mosquito-borne viruses are well recognized as a global public health burden amongst humans, but the effects on non-human vertebrates is rarely reported. Australia, houses a number of endemic mosquito-borne viruses, such as Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis virus. [...] Read more.
Mosquito-borne viruses are well recognized as a global public health burden amongst humans, but the effects on non-human vertebrates is rarely reported. Australia, houses a number of endemic mosquito-borne viruses, such as Ross River virus, Barmah Forest virus, and Murray Valley encephalitis virus. In this review, we synthesize the current state of mosquito-borne viruses impacting non-human vertebrates in Australia, including diseases that could be introduced due to local mosquito distribution. Given the unique island biogeography of Australia and the endemism of vertebrate species (including macropods and monotremes), Australia is highly susceptible to foreign mosquito species becoming established, and mosquito-borne viruses becoming endemic alongside novel reservoirs. For each virus, we summarize the known geographic distribution, mosquito vectors, vertebrate hosts, clinical signs and treatments, and highlight the importance of including non-human vertebrates in the assessment of future disease outbreaks. The mosquito-borne viruses discussed can impact wildlife, livestock, and companion animals, causing significant changes to Australian ecology and economy. The complex nature of mosquito-borne disease, and challenges in assessing the impacts to non-human vertebrate species, makes this an important topic to periodically review. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Wildlife Viral Diseases)
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