Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Lagovirus europeus GI.2 (rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2) infection in captive mountain hares (Lepus timidus) in Germany

Buehler, Melanie; Jesse, Sonja T; Kueck, Heike; Lange, Bastian; Koenig, Patricia; Jo, Wendy K ORCID; Osterhaus, Albert GND; Beineke, Andreas GND

BACKGROUND:Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV, Lagovirus europeus GI.1) induces a contagious and highly lethal hemorrhagic disease in rabbits. In 2010 a new genotype of lagovirus (GI.2), emerged in Europe, infecting wild and domestic population of rabbits and hares. CASE PRESENTATION:We describe the infection with a GI.2 strain, "Bremerhaven-17", in captive mountain hares (Lepus timidus) in a zoo facility in Germany. Postmortem examination revealed RHD-like lesions including necrotizing hepatitis. RT-qPCR and AG-ELISA confirmed presence of GI.2. Recombination and phylogenetic analysis grouped the identified strain with other GI.2 strains, sharing nucleotide identity of 91-99%. CONCLUSION:Our findings confirm that mountain hares are susceptible to GI.2 infection, due to a past recombination event facilitating virus spillover from sympatric rabbits.

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Buehler, M., Jesse, S.T., Kueck, H., Lange, B., Koenig, P., Jo, W.K., Osterhaus, A., Beineke, A., 2020. Lagovirus europeus GI.2 (rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2) infection in captive mountain hares (Lepus timidus) in Germany. BMC veterinary research 16: 166. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12917-020-02386-4
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