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Abstract

Encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) infects a wide range of hosts and can cause encephalitis, myocarditis, reproductive disorders and diabetes mellitus in selected mammalian species. As for humans, EMCV infection seems to occur by the contact with animals and can cause febrile illnesses in some infected patients. Here we isolated EMCV strain ZM12/14 from a natal multimammate mouse () in Zambia. Pairwise sequence similarity of the ZM12/14 P1 region consisting of antigenic capsid proteins showed the highest similarity of nucleotide (80.7 %) and amino acid (96.2%) sequence with EMCV serotype 1 (EMCV-1). Phylogenetic analysis revealed that ZM12/14 clustered into EMCV-1 at the P1 and P3 regions but segregated from known EMCV strains at the P2 region, suggesting a unique evolutionary history. Reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) screening and neutralizing antibody assays for EMCV were performed using collected tissues and serum from various rodents (=179) captured in different areas in Zambia. We detected the EMCV genome in 19 . (19/179=10.6 %) and neutralizing antibody for EMCV in 33 . (33/179=18.4 %). However, we did not detect either the genome or neutralizing antibody in other rodent species. High neutralizing antibody litres (≧320) were observed in both RT-PCR-negative and -positive animals. Inoculation of ZM12/14 caused asymptomatic persistent infection in BALB/c mice with high antibody titres and high viral loads in some organs, consistent with the above epidemiological results. This study is the first report of the isolation of EMCV in Zambia, suggesting that may play a role as a natural reservoir of infection.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • HirofumiSawa , Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology , (Award 1801)
  • HirofumiSawa , Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology , (Award 16H06429, 16H06431, 16K21723)
  • HirofumiSawa , Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development , (Award 20jm0110019)
  • HirofumiSawa , Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development , (Award 20wm0125008)
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2021-02-03
2021-03-02
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