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Viruses 2017, 9(12), 391; https://doi.org/10.3390/v9120391

Experimental Cowpox Virus (CPXV) Infections of Bank Voles: Exceptional Clinical Resistance and Variable Reservoir Competence

1
Institute of Diagnostic Virology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany
2
Institute of Novel and Emerging Infectious Diseases, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, 17493 Greifswald-Insel Riems, Germany
3
Institute of Virology, Freie Universität Berlin, 14163 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 September 2017 / Revised: 13 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smallpox and Emerging Zoonotic Orthopoxviruses: What Is Coming Next?)
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Abstract

Cowpox virus (CPXV) is a zoonotic virus and endemic in wild rodent populations in Eurasia. Serological surveys in Europe have reported high prevalence in different vole and mouse species. Here, we report on experimental CPXV infections of bank voles (Myodes glareolus) from different evolutionary lineages with a spectrum of CPXV strains. All bank voles, independently of lineage, sex and age, were resistant to clinical signs following CPXV inoculation, and no virus shedding was detected in nasal or buccal swabs. In-contact control animals became only rarely infected. However, depending on the CPXV strain used, inoculated animals seroconverted and viral DNA could be detected preferentially in the upper respiratory tract. The highest antibody titers and virus DNA loads in the lungs were detected after inoculation with two strains from Britain and Finland. We conclude from our experiments that the role of bank voles as an efficient and exclusive CPXV reservoir seems questionable, and that CPXV may be maintained in most regions by other hosts, including other vole species. Further investigations are needed to identify factors that allow and modulate CPXV maintenance in bank voles and other potential reservoirs, which may also influence spill-over infections to accidental hosts. View Full-Text
Keywords: Cowpox virus; reservoir; host; voles Cowpox virus; reservoir; host; voles
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Franke, A.; Ulrich, R.G.; Weber, S.; Osterrieder, N.; Keller, M.; Hoffmann, D.; Beer, M. Experimental Cowpox Virus (CPXV) Infections of Bank Voles: Exceptional Clinical Resistance and Variable Reservoir Competence. Viruses 2017, 9, 391.

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