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Multiple Mammarenaviruses Circulating in Angolan Rodents

Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, 370 05 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Department of Zoology and Fisheries, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, 165 00 Prague, Czech Republic
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Rainer Günter Ulrich and Gerald Heckel
Viruses 2021, 13(6), 982;
Received: 30 March 2021 / Revised: 17 May 2021 / Accepted: 20 May 2021 / Published: 25 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rodent-Borne Viruses)
Rodents are a speciose group of mammals with strong zoonotic potential. Some parts of Africa are still underexplored for the occurrence of rodent-borne pathogens, despite this high potential. Angola is at the convergence of three major biogeographical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, each harbouring a specific rodent community. This rodent-rich area is, therefore, strategic for studying the diversity and evolution of rodent-borne viruses. In this study we examined 290 small mammals, almost all rodents, for the presence of mammarenavirus and hantavirus RNA. While no hantavirus was detected, we found three rodent species positive for distinct mammarenaviruses with a particularly high prevalence in Namaqua rock rats (Micaelamys namaquensis). We characterised four complete virus genomes, which showed typical mammarenavirus organisation. Phylogenetic and genetic distance analyses revealed: (i) the presence of a significantly divergent strain of Luna virus in Angolan representatives of the ubiquitous Natal multimammate mouse (Mastomys natalensis), (ii) a novel Okahandja-related virus associated with the Angolan lineage of Micaelamys namaquensis for which we propose the name Bitu virus (BITV) and (iii) the occurrence of a novel Mobala-like mammarenavirus in the grey-bellied pygmy mouse (Mus triton) for which we propose the name Kwanza virus (KWAV). This high virus diversity in a limited host sample size and in a relatively small geographical area supports the idea that Angola is a hotspot for mammarenavirus diversity. View Full-Text
Keywords: mammarenaviruses; hantaviruses; Angola; Mastomys natalensis; Micaelamys namaquensis; Mus triton; phylogeny mammarenaviruses; hantaviruses; Angola; Mastomys natalensis; Micaelamys namaquensis; Mus triton; phylogeny
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MDPI and ACS Style

Těšíková, J.; Krásová, J.; Goüy de Bellocq, J. Multiple Mammarenaviruses Circulating in Angolan Rodents. Viruses 2021, 13, 982.

AMA Style

Těšíková J, Krásová J, Goüy de Bellocq J. Multiple Mammarenaviruses Circulating in Angolan Rodents. Viruses. 2021; 13(6):982.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Těšíková, Jana, Jarmila Krásová, and Joëlle Goüy de Bellocq. 2021. "Multiple Mammarenaviruses Circulating in Angolan Rodents" Viruses 13, no. 6: 982.

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