Complete genomic sequence analyses of the first group A giraffe rotavirus reveals close evolutionary relationship with rotaviruses infecting other members of the Artiodactyla.

Group A Rotaviruses (RVA) have been established as significant contributory agents of acute gastroenteritis in young children and many animal species. In 2008, we described the first RVA strain detected in a giraffe calf (RVA/Giraffe-wt/IRL/GirRV/2008/G10P[11]), presenting with acute diarrhoea. Molecular characterisation of the VP7 and VP4 genes revealed the bovine-like genotypes G10 and P[11], respectively. To further investigate the origin of this giraffe RVA strain, the 9 remaining gene segments were sequenced and analysed, revealing the following genotype constellation: G10-P[11]-I2-R2-C2-M2-A3-N2-T6-E2-H3. This genotype constellation is very similar to RVA strains isolated from cattle or other members of the artiodactyls. Phylogenetic analyses confirmed the close relationship between GirRV and RVA strains with a bovine-like genotype constellation detected from several host species, including humans. These results suggest that RVA strain GirRV was the result of an interspecies transmission from a bovine host to the giraffe calf. However, we cannot rule out completely that this bovine-like RVA genotype constellation may be enzootic in giraffes. Future RVA surveillance in giraffes may answer this intriguing question.

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
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