1887

Abstract

Rats are known as reservoirs and vectors for several zoonotic pathogens. However, information on the viruses shed by urban wild rats that could pose a zoonotic risk to human health is scare. Here, intestinal contents from 20 wild Norway rats () collected in the city of Berlin, Germany, were subjected to metagenomic analysis of viral nucleic acids. The determined faecal viromes of rats consisted of a variety of known and unknown viruses, and were highly variable among the individuals. Members of the families and represented the most abundant species. Novel picornaviruses, bocaviruses, sapoviruses and stool-associated circular ssDNA viruses were identified, which showed only low sequence identity to known representatives of the corresponding taxa. In addition, noroviruses and rotaviruses were detected as potential zoonotic gastroenteritis viruses. However, partial-genome sequence analyses indicated that the norovirus was closely related to the recently identified rat norovirus and the rotavirus B was closely related to the rat rotavirus strain IDIR; both viruses clustered separately from respective human virus strains in phylogenetic trees. In contrast, the rotavirus A sequences showed high identity to human and animal strains. Analysis of the nearly complete genome of this virus revealed the known genotypes G3, P[3] and N2 for three of the genome segments, whereas the remaining eight genome segments represented the novel genotypes I20–R11–C11–M10–A22–T14–E18–H13. Our results indicated a high heterogeneity of enteric viruses present in urban wild rats; their ability to be transmitted to humans remains to be assessed in the future.

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2014-12-01
2021-08-02
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