Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Identification of a novel clade of group A rotaviruses in fatally diseased domestic pigeons in Europe

ORCID
0000-0002-8209-6274
Affiliation
Institute of Virology, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Rubbenstroth, Dennis;
Affiliation
Clinic for Pigeons of the German Pigeon-Breeders Association, Essen, Germany.
Peus, Elisabeth;
Affiliation
Institute of Virology, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Schramm, Eva;
ORCID
0000-0002-1750-4016
Affiliation
Institute of Virology, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
Kottmann, Daniel;
Affiliation
Clinic for Poultry, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany.
Bartels, Hilke;
ORCID
0000-0002-2513-3235
Affiliation
Agriculture Victoria, Veterinary Diagnostics, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.
McCowan, Christina;
Affiliation
Berlin-Brandenburg State Laboratory, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.
Schulze, Christoph;
Affiliation
Chemical and Veterinary Investigations Office Stuttgart, Fellbach, Germany.
Akimkin, Valerij;
Affiliation
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
Fischer, Nicole;
Affiliation
Institute of Diagnostic Virology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Greifswald - Insel Riems, Germany.
Wylezich, Claudia;
Affiliation
Berlin-Brandenburg State Laboratory, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany.
Hlinak, Andreas;
Affiliation
Aulendorf state veterinary diagnostic centre, Aulendorf, Germany.
Spadinger, Anja;
Affiliation
Aulendorf state veterinary diagnostic centre, Aulendorf, Germany.
Großmann, Ernst;
Affiliation
Clinic for Poultry, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany.
Petersen, Henning;
ORCID
0000-0003-0940-7045
Affiliation
German Center for Research on Infection (DZIF), Partner Site Hamburg-Borstel-Lübeck-Riems, Hamburg, Germany.
Grundhoff, Adam;
GND
1018821449
ORCID
0000-0002-8177-3755
Affiliation
Clinic for Poultry, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany.
Rautenschlein, Silke;
GND
103704424X
ORCID
0000-0002-1642-1366
Affiliation
Clinic for Poultry, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany.
Teske, Lydia

Rotaviruses are well-known causative agents of enteric disorders in humans and other mammals, but little is known about their virulence and pathogenic role in pigeons and other birds. Starting in summer 2017, a series of outbreaks of an acute disease with high mortalities was reported in domestic pigeons in Germany, Belgium and Denmark. The clinical picture was characterized by diarrhoea, vomiting, hepatic necrosis and sudden fatalities. From these severe outbreaks, we discovered several previously unknown group A rotavirus (RVA) lineages of genotype G18P[17]-I4-R4-C4-M4-A4-T4-N4-E19-H4, which were closely related but not identical to an RVA variant identified in cases of fatal hepatic necrosis in Australian pigeon lofts in 2016. Retrospective analysis demonstrated that the predecessors of the highly virulent variants have circulated in Europe since at least 2010. Our data indicate that reassortment and intercontinental spread has led to the emergence of novel RVA variants, which may constitute a major threat to animal welfare and health of domestic pigeon populations worldwide.

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