Detection of systemic canine kobuvirus infection in peripheral tissues and the central nervous system of a fox infected with canine distemper virus
Canine kobuvirus (CaKV) is a globally distributed pathogen of dogs and is predominantly associated with infection of the gastrointestinal tract. However, an etiological link to enteric disease has not been established since CaKV has been identified in both asymptomatic dogs and animals with diarrheic symptoms. In this study, an extraintestinal CaKV infection was detected by next-generation sequencing in a fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Germany concomitant with a canine distemper virus (canine morbillivirus; CDV) co-infection. Phylogenetic analysis of the complete coding region sequence showed that this strain was most closely related to a CaKV strain detected in a dog in the United Kingdom in 2008. The tissue and cellular tropism of CaKV was characterized by the detection of viral antigens and RNA. CaKV RNA was detected by in situ hybridization in different tissues, including epithelial cells of the stomach and ependymal cells in the brain. The use of a new RT-qPCR assay for CaKV confirmed the systemic distribution of CaKV with viral RNA also detected in the lymph nodes, bladder, trachea, and brain. The detection of a CDV infection in this fox suggests that immunosuppression should be further investigated as a contributing factor to the enhanced extraintestinal spread of CaKV.