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First molecular identification of kobuviruses in wolves (Canis lupus) in Italy

Melegari, Irene, Sarchese, Vittorio, Di Profio, Federica, Robetto, Serena, Carella, Emanuele, Bermudez Sanchez, Sandra, Orusa, Riccardo, Martella, Vito, Marsilio, Fulvio, Di Martino, Barbara
Archives of virology 2018 v.163 no.2 pp. 509-513
Canis aureus, Canis lupus, Crocuta crocuta, Kobuvirus, RNA, Vulpes vulpes, carnivores, disease transmission, dogs, ecosystems, enteropathogens, feces, jackals, necropsy, sequence analysis, viruses, wolves, Africa, Italy, United Kingdom
Canine kobuviruses (CaKoVs) were first identified in diarrhoeic and asymptomatic dogs in 2011 in the USA. Subsequent studies have demonstrated a worldwide distribution of these viruses, but it is not clear if CaKoVs play a role as enteric pathogens of dogs. More recently, CaKoV RNA has been detected in wild carnivores, including red fox, golden jackal, side-striped jackal and spotted hyena. In this study, we addressed the hypothesis that wolves are susceptible to CaKoV infections. A total of 185 wolf stool samples were collected from necropsied animals and from transects in the Liguria, Piemonte and Valle D’Aosta regions of Italy, and CaKoV RNA was identified in two of these specimens. Both samples were obtained from necropsied wolves, with a prevalence rate of 4.9% (2/41). Sequence analysis of the full-length VP1 region showed that these strains displayed the highest nucleotide (nt) sequence identity (86.3-98.5%) to canine strains identified in the UK and Africa, and to kobuviruses that were previously detected in other African wild carnivores. This suggests that genetically related CaKoV strains circulate in domestic and wild carnivores, with interspecies transmission being not uncommon among carnivores of different ecosystems.