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Clinical, Histopathologic, and Immunohistochemical Characterization of Experimental Marburg Virus Infection in A Natural Reservoir Host, the Egyptian Rousette Bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus)

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Viral Special Pathogens Branch, Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30029, USA
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Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
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Infectious Diseases Pathology Branch, Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current Address: Department of Pathology and Microbiology Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE CIA 4P3, Canada.
Current Address: Child Development and Rehabilitation Center, Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, OR 97403, USA.
§
Current Address: One Health Institute, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.
Viruses 2019, 11(3), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11030214
Received: 5 February 2019 / Revised: 26 February 2019 / Accepted: 27 February 2019 / Published: 2 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis of Emerging Viral Infections)
Egyptian rousette bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) are natural reservoir hosts of Marburg virus (MARV), and Ravn virus (RAVV; collectively called marburgviruses) and have been linked to human cases of Marburg virus disease (MVD). We investigated the clinical and pathologic effects of experimental MARV infection in Egyptian rousettes through a serial euthanasia study and found clear evidence of mild but transient disease. Three groups of nine, captive-born, juvenile male bats were inoculated subcutaneously with 10,000 TCID50 of Marburg virus strain Uganda 371Bat2007, a minimally passaged virus originally isolated from a wild Egyptian rousette. Control bats (n = 3) were mock-inoculated. Three animals per day were euthanized at 3, 5–10, 12 and 28 days post-inoculation (DPI); controls were euthanized at 28 DPI. Blood chemistry analyses showed a mild, statistically significant elevation in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) at 3, 6 and 7 DPI. Lymphocyte and monocyte counts were mildly elevated in inoculated bats after 9 DPI. Liver histology revealed small foci of inflammatory infiltrate in infected bats, similar to lesions previously described in wild, naturally-infected bats. Liver lesion severity scores peaked at 7 DPI, and were correlated with both ALT and hepatic viral RNA levels. Immunohistochemical staining detected infrequent viral antigen in liver (3–8 DPI, n = 8), spleen (3–7 DPI, n = 8), skin (inoculation site; 3–12 DPI, n = 20), lymph nodes (3–10 DPI, n = 6), and oral submucosa (8–9 DPI, n = 2). Viral antigen was present in histiocytes, hepatocytes and mesenchymal cells, and in the liver, antigen staining co-localized with inflammatory foci. These results show the first clear evidence of very mild disease caused by a filovirus in a reservoir bat host and provide support for our experimental model of this virus-reservoir host system. View Full-Text
Keywords: Marburg virus; filovirus; Rousettus aegyptiacus; Egyptian rousette bat; natural reservoir; histopathologic; immunohistochemical Marburg virus; filovirus; Rousettus aegyptiacus; Egyptian rousette bat; natural reservoir; histopathologic; immunohistochemical
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Jones, M.E.; Amman, B.R.; Sealy, T.K.; Uebelhoer, L.S.; Schuh, A.J.; Flietstra, T.; Bird, B.H.; Coleman-McCray, J.D.; Zaki, S.R.; Nichol, S.T.; Towner, J.S. Clinical, Histopathologic, and Immunohistochemical Characterization of Experimental Marburg Virus Infection in A Natural Reservoir Host, the Egyptian Rousette Bat (Rousettus aegyptiacus). Viruses 2019, 11, 214.

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