1887

Abstract

The genus includes a variety of pathogenic viruses that are transmitted by biting midges, mosquitoes and ticks. Some of the economically most relevant orbiviruses are endemic to Namibia, like the livestock-pathogenic Bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses. Here, we assessed the diversity of orbiviruses circulating in the Zambezi region of north-eastern Namibia. A total of 10 250 biting midges and 10 206 mosquitoes were collected and screened for orbivirus infections. We identified Palyam virus (PALV) in a pool of biting midges ( sp.) sampled in the Wuparo Conservancy and three strains of Corriparta virus (CORV) in sp. mosquitoes sampled in Mudumu National Park and the Mashi Conservancy. This is, to our knowledge, the first detection of PALV and CORV in Namibia. Both viruses infect vertebrates but only PALV has been reported to cause disease. PALV can cause foetal malformations and abortions in ruminants. Furthermore, a novel orbivirus, related to Kammavanpettai virus from India and Umatilla virus from North America, was discovered in biting midges ( sp.) originating from Mudumu National Park and tentatively named Mudumu virus (MUMUV). Complete genomes of PALV, CORV and MUMUV were sequenced and genetically characterized. The Namibian CORV strain showed 24.3 % nucleotide divergence in its subcore shell gene to CORV strains from Australia, indicating that African CORV variants vary widely from their Australian relatives. CORV was isolated in cell culture and replicated to high titres in mosquito and duck cells. No growth was found in rodent and primate cells. The data presented here show that diverse orbiviruses are endemic to the Zambezi region. Further studies are needed to assess their effects on wildlife and livestock.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Award TRR 228/1)
    • Principle Award Recipient: ChristianBorgemeister
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (Award TRR 228/1)
    • Principle Award Recipient: SandraJunglen
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2021-09-23
2021-10-24
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