Special Issue "Emerging Arboviruses"

A special issue of Viruses (ISSN 1999-4915). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal Viruses".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 14 December 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Remi N. Charrel
Website
Guest Editor
Unité des Virus Emergents (Aix Marseille Université, IRD 190, INSERM U1207, IHU Mediterranee Infection), Marseille, France
Interests: arthropod-borne viruses; vector-borne and zoonotic viral diseases; viruses of medical importance; diagnostics; epidemiology; virus discovery; taxonomy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The emergence and re-emergence of arboviruses have occurred for centuries, but their rapid dispersion is more rapid and geographically extensive because of the intensive growth of global transportation systems, arthropod adaptation to urbanization, failure to contain mosquito populations and land perturbation.  Here we would like to address emerging arboviruses of human importance (such as Chikungunya, Zika, Yellow fever, West Nile, Toscana, Usutu, Japanese encephalitis, Spondweni, Oropouche, Mayaro, O'nyong nyong etc.) and of veterinary importance (such as Schmallenberg, Bluetongue, African swine fever, Usutu, West Nile, Rift Valley fever, Shuni, African horse sickness, Akabane, etc.). Research studies can be focused on epidemiology, development and evaluation of diagnostic assays, transmission pathways and cycles, natural cycles, virulence and clinical aspects. Studies aiming at virus discovery or at establishing the pathogenesis of viruses for either humans or animals are also within the scope of this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Remi Charrel
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • emergence
  • arthropod-borne virus
  • human importance
  • veterinary importance
  • diagnosis; preparedness and response
  • seroprevalence
  • epidemiology
  • transmission
  • virulence
  • animal models
  • antivirals

Published Papers (51 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Differential Growth Characteristics of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus in Kidney Cells of Human and Bovine Origin
Viruses 2020, 12(6), 685; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060685 - 25 Jun 2020
Abstract
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) causes a lethal tick-borne zoonotic disease with severe clinical manifestation in humans but does not produce symptomatic disease in wild or domestic animals. The factors contributing to differential outcomes of infection between species are not yet understood. Since [...] Read more.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) causes a lethal tick-borne zoonotic disease with severe clinical manifestation in humans but does not produce symptomatic disease in wild or domestic animals. The factors contributing to differential outcomes of infection between species are not yet understood. Since CCHFV is known to have tropism to kidney tissue and cattle play an important role as an amplifying host for CCHFV, in this study, we assessed in vitro cell susceptibility to CCHFV infection in immortalized and primary kidney and adrenal gland cell lines of human and bovine origin. Based on our indirect fluorescent focus assay (IFFA), we suggest a cell-to-cell CCHF viral spread process in bovine kidney cells but not in human cells. Over the course of seven days post-infection (dpi), infected bovine kidney cells are found in restricted islet-like areas. In contrast, three dpi infected human kidney or adrenal cells were noted in areas distant from one another yet progressed to up to 100% infection of the monolayer. Pronounced CCHFV replication, measured by quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) of both intra- and extracellular viral RNA, was documented only in human kidney cells, supporting restrictive infection in cells of bovine origin. To further investigate the differences, lactate dehydrogenase activity and cytopathic effects were measured at different time points in all mentioned cells. In vitro assays indicated that CCHFV infection affects human and bovine kidney cells differently, where human cell lines seem to be markedly permissive. This is the initial reporting of CCHFV susceptibility and replication patterns in bovine cells and the first report to compare human and animal cell permissiveness in vitro. Further investigations will help to understand the impact of different cell types of various origins on the virus–host interaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Forced Zika Virus Infection of Culex pipiens Leads to Limited Virus Accumulation in Mosquito Saliva
Viruses 2020, 12(6), 659; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060659 - 19 Jun 2020
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that caused a large outbreak in the Americas in 2015 and 2016. The virus is currently present in tropical areas around the globe and can cause severe disease in humans, including Guillain-Barré syndrome and congenital microcephaly. [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne pathogen that caused a large outbreak in the Americas in 2015 and 2016. The virus is currently present in tropical areas around the globe and can cause severe disease in humans, including Guillain-Barré syndrome and congenital microcephaly. The tropical yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is the main vector in the urban transmission cycles of ZIKV. The discovery of ZIKV in wild-caught Culex mosquitoes and the ability of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes to transmit ZIKV in the laboratory raised the question of whether the common house mosquito Culex pipiens, which is abundantly present in temperate regions in North America, Asia and Europe, could also be involved in ZIKV transmission. In this study, we investigated the vector competence of Cx. pipiens (biotypes molestus and pipiens) from the Netherlands for ZIKV, using Usutu virus as a control. After an infectious blood meal containing ZIKV, none of the tested mosquitoes accumulated ZIKV in the saliva, although 2% of the Cx. pipiens pipiens mosquitoes showed ZIKV–positive bodies. To test the barrier function of the mosquito midgut on virus transmission, ZIKV was forced into Cx. pipiens mosquitoes by intrathoracic injection, resulting in 74% (molestus) and 78% (pipiens) ZIKV–positive bodies. Strikingly, 14% (molestus) and 7% (pipiens) of the tested mosquitoes accumulated ZIKV in the saliva after injection. This is the first demonstration of ZIKV accumulation in the saliva of Cx. pipiens upon forced infection. Nevertheless, a strong midgut barrier restricted virus dissemination in the mosquito after oral exposure and we, therefore, consider Cx. pipiens as a highly inefficient vector for ZIKV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Zika Virus in West Africa: A Seroepidemiological Study between 2007 and 2012
Viruses 2020, 12(6), 641; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060641 - 13 Jun 2020
Abstract
According to the World Health Organization, the entire African continent is at risk of a Zika outbreak. To increase data availability on the epidemiology of Zika virus circulation in Africa, we evaluated the immunity to Zika virus in a selected cohort of subjects [...] Read more.
According to the World Health Organization, the entire African continent is at risk of a Zika outbreak. To increase data availability on the epidemiology of Zika virus circulation in Africa, we evaluated the immunity to Zika virus in a selected cohort of subjects from West Africa between 2007 and 2012. Human serum samples were collected in 2007 and in 2011/2012 from a cohort of 2–29-year-old subjects from Mali, Senegal, and The Gambia. A sample that tested positive by Zika virus IgG ELISA and by Zika virus microneutralization test was defined as positive. In 2007, the highest prevalence was 21.9%, found in Senegal among 18–29-year-old subjects. In 2011/2012, the highest prevalence, 22.7%, was found still in Senegal, but in 11–17-year-old subjects. During both study periods, the lowest prevalence was found in Mali, where few positive cases were found only in 18–29-year-old subjects. The Gambia showed an intermediate prevalence. In the three countries, prevalence was strongly associated with increasing age. This study contributes to understanding Zika virus circulation within three different ecological and demographic contexts with scarce or no data currently available. Results showed that Zika virus circulated actively in West Africa between the period 2007 and 2011/2012, but with some geographic specificity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Viral RNA Recovery Methods in Vectors by Metagenomic Sequencing
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 562; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050562 - 19 May 2020
Abstract
Identification and characterization of viral genomes in vectors including ticks and mosquitoes positive for pathogens of great public health concern using metagenomic next generation sequencing (mNGS) has challenges. One such challenge is the ability to efficiently recover viral RNA which is typically dependent [...] Read more.
Identification and characterization of viral genomes in vectors including ticks and mosquitoes positive for pathogens of great public health concern using metagenomic next generation sequencing (mNGS) has challenges. One such challenge is the ability to efficiently recover viral RNA which is typically dependent on sample processing. We evaluated the quantitative effect of six different extraction methods in recovering viral RNA in vectors using negative tick homogenates spiked with serial dilutions of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and surrogate Langat virus (LGTV). Evaluation was performed using qPCR and mNGS. Sensitivity and proof of concept of optimal method was tested using naturally positive TBEV tick homogenates and positive dengue, chikungunya, and Zika virus mosquito homogenates. The amount of observed viral genome copies, percentage of mapped reads, and genome coverage varied among different extractions methods. The developed Method 5 gave a 120.8-, 46-, 2.5-, 22.4-, and 9.9-fold increase in the number of viral reads mapping to the expected pathogen in comparison to Method 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, respectively. Our developed Method 5 termed ROVIV (Recovery of Viruses in Vectors) greatly improved viral RNA recovery and identification in vectors using mNGS. Therefore, it may be a more sensitive method for use in arbovirus surveillance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
West Nile Virus Lineage 2 Vector Competence of Indigenous Culex and Aedes Mosquitoes from Germany at Temperate Climate Conditions
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050561 - 19 May 2020
Abstract
West Nile virus (WNV) is a widespread zoonotic arbovirus and a threat to public health in Germany since its first emergence in 2018. It has become of particular relevance in Germany in 2019 due to its rapid geographical spread and the detection of [...] Read more.
West Nile virus (WNV) is a widespread zoonotic arbovirus and a threat to public health in Germany since its first emergence in 2018. It has become of particular relevance in Germany in 2019 due to its rapid geographical spread and the detection of the first human clinical cases. The susceptibility of indigenous Culex pipiens (biotypes pipiens and molestus) for a German WNV lineage 2 strain was experimentally compared to that of Serbian Cx. pipiens biotype molestus and invasive German Aedes albopictus. All tested populations proved to be competent laboratory vectors of WNV. Culex pipiens biotype pipiens displayed the highest transmission efficiencies (40.0%–52.9%) at 25 °C. This biotype was also able to transmit WNV at 18 °C (transmission efficiencies of 4.4%–8.3%), proving that temperate climates in Central and Northern Europe may support WNV circulation. Furthermore, due to their feeding behaviors, Cx. pipiens biotype molestus and Ae. albopictus can act as “bridge vectors”, leading to human WNV infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Usutu Virus Infection of Embryonated Chicken Eggs and a Chicken Embryo-Derived Primary Cell Line
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050531 - 12 May 2020
Abstract
Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, closely related to the West Nile virus (WNV). Similar to WNV, USUV may cause infections in humans, with occasional, but sometimes severe, neurological complications. Further, USUV can be highly pathogenic in wild and captive birds and [...] Read more.
Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus, closely related to the West Nile virus (WNV). Similar to WNV, USUV may cause infections in humans, with occasional, but sometimes severe, neurological complications. Further, USUV can be highly pathogenic in wild and captive birds and its circulation in Europe has given rise to substantial avian death. Adequate study models of this virus are still lacking but are critically needed to understand its pathogenesis and virulence spectrum. The chicken embryo is a low-cost, easy-to-manipulate and ethically acceptable model that closely reflects mammalian fetal development and allows immune response investigations, drug screening, and high-throughput virus production for vaccine development. While former studies suggested that this model was refractory to USUV infection, we unexpectedly found that high doses of four phylogenetically distinct USUV strains caused embryonic lethality. By employing immunohistochemistry and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, we demonstrated that USUV was widely distributed in embryonic tissues, including the brain, retina, and feather follicles. We then successfully developed a primary cell line from the chorioallantoic membrane that was permissive to the virus without the need for viral adaptation. We believe the future use of these models would foster a significant understanding of USUV-induced neuropathogenesis and immune response and allow the future development of drugs and vaccines against USUV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Glucose-Regulated Protein 78 Interacts with Zika Virus Envelope Protein and Contributes to a Productive Infection
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050524 - 09 May 2020
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV; Flaviviridae) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus shown to cause fetal abnormalities collectively known as congenital Zika syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome in recent outbreaks. Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine available, and more effort is needed to identify cellular factors [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV; Flaviviridae) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus shown to cause fetal abnormalities collectively known as congenital Zika syndrome and Guillain-Barré syndrome in recent outbreaks. Currently, there is no specific treatment or vaccine available, and more effort is needed to identify cellular factors in the viral life cycle. Here, we investigated interactors of ZIKV envelope (E) protein by combining protein pull-down with mass spectrometry. We found that E interacts with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resident chaperone, glucose regulated protein 78 (GRP78). Although other flaviviruses are known to co-opt ER resident proteins, including GRP78, to enhance viral infectivity, the role ER proteins play during the ZIKV life cycle is yet to be elucidated. We showed that GRP78 levels increased during ZIKV infection and localised to sites coincident with ZIKV E staining. Depletion of GRP78 using specific siRNAs significantly reduced reporter-virus luciferase readings, viral protein synthesis, and viral titres. Additionally, GRP78 depletion reduced the ability of ZIKV to disrupt host cell translation and altered the localisation of viral replication factories, though there was no effect on viral RNA synthesis. In summary, we showed GRP78 is a vital host-factor during ZIKV infection, which may be involved in the coordination of viral replication factories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
TRiC/CCT Complex, a Binding Partner of NS1 Protein, Supports the Replication of Zika Virus in Both Mammalians and Mosquitoes
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050519 - 08 May 2020
Abstract
Mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) can cause congenital microcephaly and Guillain–Barré syndrome, among other symptoms. Specific treatments and vaccines for ZIKV are not currently available. To further understand the host factors that support ZIKV replication, we used mass spectrometry to characterize mammalian proteins that [...] Read more.
Mosquito-borne Zika virus (ZIKV) can cause congenital microcephaly and Guillain–Barré syndrome, among other symptoms. Specific treatments and vaccines for ZIKV are not currently available. To further understand the host factors that support ZIKV replication, we used mass spectrometry to characterize mammalian proteins that associate with the ZIKV NS1 protein and identified the TRiC/CCT complex as an interacting partner. Furthermore, the suppression of CCT2, one of the critical components of the TRiC/CCT complex, inhibited ZIKV replication in both mammalian cells and mosquitoes. These results highlight an important role for the TRiC/CCT complex in ZIKV infection, suggesting that the TRiC/CCT complex may be a promising therapeutic target. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Asian Zika Virus Isolate Significantly Changes the Transcriptional Profile and Alternative RNA Splicing Events in a Neuroblastoma Cell Line
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050510 - 05 May 2020
Abstract
The alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs expands a single genetic blueprint to encode multiple, functionally diverse protein isoforms. Viruses have previously been shown to interact with, depend on, and alter host splicing machinery. The consequences, however, incited by viral infection on the global alternative [...] Read more.
The alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs expands a single genetic blueprint to encode multiple, functionally diverse protein isoforms. Viruses have previously been shown to interact with, depend on, and alter host splicing machinery. The consequences, however, incited by viral infection on the global alternative slicing (AS) landscape are under-appreciated. Here, we investigated the transcriptional and alternative splicing profile of neuronal cells infected with a contemporary Puerto Rican Zika virus (ZIKVPR) isolate, an isolate of the prototypical Ugandan ZIKV (ZIKVMR), and dengue virus 2 (DENV2). Our analyses revealed that ZIKVPR induced significantly more differential changes in expressed genes compared to ZIKVMR or DENV2, despite all three viruses showing equivalent infectivity and viral RNA levels. Consistent with the transcriptional profile, ZIKVPR induced a higher number of alternative splicing events compared to ZIKVMR or DENV2, and gene ontology analyses highlighted alternative splicing changes in genes associated with mRNA splicing. In summary, we show that ZIKV affects cellular RNA homeostasis not only at the transcriptional levels but also through the alternative splicing of cellular transcripts. These findings could provide new molecular insights into the neuropathologies associated with this virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
West Nile Virus Mosquito Vectors (Diptera: Culicidae) in Germany
Viruses 2020, 12(5), 493; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12050493 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In 2018, West Nile virus (WNV) broke out for the first time in Germany, with continuation of the epidemic in 2019, involving birds, horses and humans. To identify vectors and characterize the virus, mosquitoes were collected in both years in zoological gardens and [...] Read more.
In 2018, West Nile virus (WNV) broke out for the first time in Germany, with continuation of the epidemic in 2019, involving birds, horses and humans. To identify vectors and characterize the virus, mosquitoes were collected in both years in zoological gardens and on a horse meadow immediately following the diagnosis of disease cases in birds and horses. Mosquitoes were identified and screened for WNV by qRT-PCR, with virus-positive samples being sequenced for the viral envelope protein gene. While no positive mosquitoes were found in 2018, seven mosquito pools tested positive for WNV in 2019 in the Tierpark (Wildlife Park) Berlin. The pools consisted of Cx. pipiens biotype pipiens (n = 5), and a mixture of Cx. p. biotype pipiens and Cx. p. biotype molestus (n = 2), or hybrids of these, and were collected between 13 August and 24 September 2019. The virus strain turned out to be nearly identical to two WNV strains isolated from birds diseased in 2018 in eastern Germany. The findings represent the first demonstration of WNV in mosquitoes in Germany and include the possibility of local overwintering of the virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Human West Nile Virus Lineage 2 Infection: Epidemiological, Clinical, and Virological Findings
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040458 - 18 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
West Nile virus (WNV) lineage 2 is expanding and causing large outbreaks in Europe. In this study, we analyzed the epidemiological, clinical, and virological features of WNV lineage 2 infection during the large outbreak that occurred in northern Italy in 2018. The study [...] Read more.
West Nile virus (WNV) lineage 2 is expanding and causing large outbreaks in Europe. In this study, we analyzed the epidemiological, clinical, and virological features of WNV lineage 2 infection during the large outbreak that occurred in northern Italy in 2018. The study population included 86 patients with neuroinvasive disease (WNND), 307 with fever (WNF), and 34 blood donors. Phylogenetic analysis of WNV full genome sequences from patients’ samples showed that the virus belonged to the widespread central/southern European clade of WNV lineage 2 and was circulating in the area at least since 2014. The incidence of WNND and WNF progressively increased with age and was higher in males than in females. Among WNND patients, the case fatality rate was 22%. About 70% of blood donors reported symptoms during follow-up. Within the first week after symptom onset, WNV RNA was detectable in the blood or urine of 80% of patients, while 20% and 40% of WNND and WNF patients, respectively, were WNV IgM-seronegative. In CSF samples of WNND patients, WNV RNA was typically detectable when WNV IgM antibodies were absent. Blunted or no WNV IgM response and high WNV IgG levels were observed in seven patients with previous flavivirus immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Broad Antiviral Activity of Ginkgolic Acid against Chikungunya, Mayaro, Una, and Zika Viruses
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040449 - 15 Apr 2020
Abstract
The alphaviruses Chikungunya (CHIKV), Mayaro (MAYV), Una (UNAV), and the flavivirus Zika (ZIKV) are emerging or re-emerging arboviruses which are responsible for frequent epidemic outbreaks. Despite the large impact of these arboviruses on health systems, there are no approved vaccines or treatments to [...] Read more.
The alphaviruses Chikungunya (CHIKV), Mayaro (MAYV), Una (UNAV), and the flavivirus Zika (ZIKV) are emerging or re-emerging arboviruses which are responsible for frequent epidemic outbreaks. Despite the large impact of these arboviruses on health systems, there are no approved vaccines or treatments to fight these infections. As a consequence, there is an urgent need to discover new antiviral drugs. Natural products are a rich source of compounds with distinct biological activities, including antiviral properties. Thus, we aimed to explore the potential antiviral activity of Ginkgolic acid against the arboviruses CHIKV, MAYV, UNAV, and ZIKV. Viral progeny production in supernatants from cells treated or not treated with Ginkgolic acid was quantified by plaque-forming assay. Ginkgolic acid’s direct virucidal activity against these arboviruses was also determined. Additionally, viral protein expression was assessed using Western blot and immunofluorescence. Our results reveal that Ginkgolic acid promotes a dose-dependent decrease in viral titers in all tested viruses. Moreover, the compound demonstrated strong virucidal activity. Finally, we found that viral protein expression was affected by treatment with this drug. Collectively, these findings suggest that Ginkgolic acid could have broader antiviral activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
West Nile Virus Epidemic in Germany Triggered by Epizootic Emergence, 2019
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040448 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
One year after the first autochthonous transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) to birds and horses in Germany, an epizootic emergence of WNV was again observed in 2019. The number of infected birds and horses was considerably higher compared to 2018 (12 birds, [...] Read more.
One year after the first autochthonous transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) to birds and horses in Germany, an epizootic emergence of WNV was again observed in 2019. The number of infected birds and horses was considerably higher compared to 2018 (12 birds, two horses), resulting in the observation of the first WNV epidemy in Germany: 76 cases in birds, 36 in horses and five confirmed mosquito-borne, autochthonous human cases. We demonstrated that Germany experienced several WNV introduction events and that strains of a distinct group (Eastern German WNV clade), which was introduced to Germany as a single introduction event, dominated mosquito, birds, horse and human-related virus variants in 2018 and 2019. Virus strains in this clade are characterized by a specific-Lys2114Arg mutation, which might lead to an increase in viral fitness. Extraordinary high temperatures in 2018/2019 allowed a low extrinsic incubation period (EIP), which drove the epizootic emergence and, in the end, most likely triggered the 2019 epidemic. Spatiotemporal EIP values correlated with the geographical WNV incidence. This study highlights the risk of a further spread in Germany in the next years with additional human WNV infections. Thus, surveillance of birds is essential to provide an early epidemic warning and thus, initiate targeted control measures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Reverse Genetics System for Toscana Virus (Lineage A)
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 411; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040411 - 07 Apr 2020
Abstract
Toscana virus (TOSV) is a Phlebovirus in the Phenuiviridae family, order Bunyavirales, found in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean. TOSV is an important cause of seasonal acute meningitis and encephalitis within its range. Here, we determined the full sequence of the TOSV [...] Read more.
Toscana virus (TOSV) is a Phlebovirus in the Phenuiviridae family, order Bunyavirales, found in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean. TOSV is an important cause of seasonal acute meningitis and encephalitis within its range. Here, we determined the full sequence of the TOSV strain 1500590, a lineage A virus obtained from an infected patient (Marseille, 2007) and used this in combination with other sequence information to construct functional cDNA plasmids encoding the viral L, M, and S antigenomic sequences under the control of the T7 RNA promoter to recover recombinant viruses. Importantly, resequencing identified two single nucleotide changes to a TOSV reference genome, which, when corrected, restored functionality to the polymerase L and made it possible to recover infectious recombinant TOSV (rTOSV) from cDNA, as well as establish a minigenome system. Using reverse genetics, we produced an NSs-deletant rTOSV and also obtained viruses expressing reporter genes instead of NSs. The availability of such a system assists investigating questions that require genetic manipulation of the viral genome, such as investigations into replication and tropism, and beyond these fundamental aspects, also the development of novel vaccine design strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Toscana Virus Reverse Genetics System Establishes NSs as an Antagonist of Type I Interferon Responses
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040400 - 04 Apr 2020
Abstract
The sand fly-borne Toscana virus (TOSV) is the major cause of human meningoencephalitis in the Mediterranean basin during the summer season. In this work, we have developed a T7 RNA polymerase-driven reverse genetics system to recover infectious particles of a lineage B strain [...] Read more.
The sand fly-borne Toscana virus (TOSV) is the major cause of human meningoencephalitis in the Mediterranean basin during the summer season. In this work, we have developed a T7 RNA polymerase-driven reverse genetics system to recover infectious particles of a lineage B strain of TOSV. The viral protein pattern and growth properties of the rescued virus (rTOSV) were found to be similar to those of the corresponding wild-type (wt) virus. Using this system, we genetically engineered a TOSV mutant lacking expression of the non-structural protein NSs (rTOSVɸNSs). Unlike rTOSV and the wt virus, rTOSVɸNSs was unable to (i) suppress interferon (IFN)-b messenger RNA induction; and (ii) grow efficiently in cells producing IFN-b. Together, our results highlight the importance of NSs for TOSV in evading the IFN response and provide a comprehensive toolbox to investigate the TOSV life cycle in mammalian and insect host cells, including several novel polyclonal antibodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
High Transmission Potential of West Nile Virus Lineage 1 for Cx. pipiens s.l. of Iran
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040397 - 03 Apr 2020
Abstract
Vector competence is an important parameter in evaluating whether a species plays a role in transmission of an arbovirus. Although the protocols are similar, interpretation of results is unique given the specific interactions that exist between a mosquito population and a viral genotype. [...] Read more.
Vector competence is an important parameter in evaluating whether a species plays a role in transmission of an arbovirus. Although the protocols are similar, interpretation of results is unique given the specific interactions that exist between a mosquito population and a viral genotype. Here, we assessed the infection (IR), dissemination (DR), and transmission (TR) rates of Cx. pipiens s.l., collected from Iran, for West Nile virus (WNV) lineage 1a. We showed that Cx. pipiens s.l. mosquitoes in Iran were susceptible to WNV with IR up to 89.7%, 93.6%, and 83.9% at 7, 14, and 21 days post-infection (dpi) respectively. In addition, DR and TR reached respectively 92.3% and 75.0% at 21 dpi, and the number of viral particles delivered with saliva reached up to 1.33 × 105 particles. Therefore, an unexpected high risk of WNV dissemination in the region where Cx. pipiens s.l. mosquitoes are well established should be considered carefully and surveillance measures implemented accordingly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Survey on Non-Human Primates and Mosquitoes Does not Provide Evidences of Spillover/Spillback between the Urban and Sylvatic Cycles of Yellow Fever and Zika Viruses Following Severe Outbreaks in Southeast Brazil
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 364; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040364 - 26 Mar 2020
Abstract
In the last decade, Flaviviruses such as yellow fever (YFV) and Zika (ZIKV) have expanded their transmission areas. These viruses originated in Africa, where they exhibit both sylvatic and interhuman transmission cycles. In Brazil, the risk of YFV urbanization has grown, with the [...] Read more.
In the last decade, Flaviviruses such as yellow fever (YFV) and Zika (ZIKV) have expanded their transmission areas. These viruses originated in Africa, where they exhibit both sylvatic and interhuman transmission cycles. In Brazil, the risk of YFV urbanization has grown, with the sylvatic transmission approaching the most densely populated metropolis, while concern about ZIKV spillback to a sylvatic cycle has risen. To investigate these health threats, we carried out extensive collections and arbovirus screening of 144 free-living, non-human primates (NHPs) and 5219 mosquitoes before, during, and after ZIKV and YFV outbreaks (2015–2018) in southeast Brazil. ZIKV infection was not detected in any NHP collected at any time. In contrast, current and previous YFV infections were detected in NHPs sampled between 2017 and 2018, but not before the onset of the YFV outbreak. Mosquito pools screened by high-throughput PCR were positive for YFV when captured in the wild and during the YFV outbreak, but were negative for 94 other arboviruses, including ZIKV, regardless of the time of collection. In conclusion, there was no evidence of YFV transmission in coastal southeast Brazil before the current outbreak, nor the spread or establishment of an independent sylvatic cycle of ZIKV or urban Aedes aegypti transmission of YFV in the region. In view of the region’s receptivity and vulnerability to arbovirus transmission, surveillance of NHPs and mosquitoes should be strengthened and continuous. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessCommunication
Successful Infection of Domestic Pigs by Ingestion of the European Soft Tick O. Erraticus That Fed on African Swine Fever Virus Infected Pig
Viruses 2020, 12(3), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12030300 - 11 Mar 2020
Abstract
African swine fever is a highly lethal hemorrhagic fever of Suidae, threatening pig production globally. Suidae can be infected by different ways like ingestion of contaminated feed, direct contact with infected animals or fomites, and biting by infected soft tick bites. As [...] Read more.
African swine fever is a highly lethal hemorrhagic fever of Suidae, threatening pig production globally. Suidae can be infected by different ways like ingestion of contaminated feed, direct contact with infected animals or fomites, and biting by infected soft tick bites. As already described, European soft ticks (Ornithodoros erraticus and Ornithodoros verrucosus) were not able to transmit African swine fever virus by biting pigs although these ticks maintained the infectious virus during several months; therefore, the possibility for pigs to become infected through the ingestion of infected ticks was questioned but not already explored. To determine if such oral ingestion is an alternative pathway of transmission, O. erraticus ticks were infected by blood-feeding on a viremic pig infected with the European African swine fever virus strain Georgia2007/1, then frozen at zero and two months post-engorgement, then after, were embedded in the food to pigs. Pig infection was successful, with superior efficiency with ticks frozen just after the infectious blood meal. These results confirmed the potential role of O. erraticus ticks as an ASFV reservoir and demonstrated the efficiency of non-conventional pathways of transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus: An Emerging Ancient Zoonosis?
Viruses 2020, 12(2), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12020247 - 23 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is one of the most important viral zoonosis transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. In this study, all tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) E gene sequences available in GenBank as of June 2019 with known date of isolation (n [...] Read more.
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is one of the most important viral zoonosis transmitted by the bite of infected ticks. In this study, all tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) E gene sequences available in GenBank as of June 2019 with known date of isolation (n = 551) were analyzed. Simulation studies showed that a sample bias could significantly affect earlier studies, because small TBEV datasets (n = 50) produced non-overlapping intervals for evolutionary rate estimates. An apparent lack of a temporal signal in TBEV, in general, was found, precluding molecular clock analysis of all TBEV subtypes in one dataset. Within all subtypes and most of the smaller groups in these subtypes, there was evidence of many medium- and long-distance virus transfers. These multiple random events may play a key role in the virus spreading. For some groups, virus diversity within one territory was similar to diversity over the whole geographic range. This is best exemplified by the virus diversity observed in Switzerland or Czech Republic. These two countries yielded most of the known European subtype Eu3 subgroup sequences, and the diversity of viruses found within each of these small countries is comparable to that of the whole Eu3 subgroup, which is prevalent all over Central and Eastern Europe. Most of the deep tree nodes within all three established TBEV subtypes dated less than 300 years back. This could be explained by the recent emergence of most of the known TBEV diversity. Results of bioinformatics analysis presented here, together with multiple field findings, suggest that TBEV may be regarded as an emerging disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessCommunication
New Insights into the Susceptibility of Immunocompetent Mice to Usutu Virus
Viruses 2020, 12(2), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12020189 - 08 Feb 2020
Abstract
Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that shares many similarities with the closely related West Nile virus (WNV) in terms of ecology and clinical manifestations. Initially distributed in Africa, USUV emerged in Italy in 1996 and managed to co-circulate with WNV in [...] Read more.
Usutu virus (USUV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that shares many similarities with the closely related West Nile virus (WNV) in terms of ecology and clinical manifestations. Initially distributed in Africa, USUV emerged in Italy in 1996 and managed to co-circulate with WNV in many European countries in a similar mosquito–bird life cycle. The rapid geographic spread of USUV, the seasonal mass mortalities it causes in the European avifauna, and the increasing number of infections with neurological disease both in healthy and immunocompromised humans has stimulated interest in infection studies to delineate USUV pathogenesis. Here, we assessed the pathogenicity of two USUV isolates from a recent Belgian outbreak in immunocompetent mice. The intradermal injection of USUV gave rise to disorientation and paraplegia and was associated with neuronal death in the brain and spinal cord in a single mouse. Intranasal inoculation of USUV could also establish the infection; viral RNA was detected in the brain 15 days post-infection. Overall, this pilot study probes the suitability of this murine model for the study of USUV neuroinvasiveness and the possibility of direct transmission in mammals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Usutu Virus Infection in Domestic Canaries Serinus canaria
Viruses 2020, 12(2), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12020164 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Usutu virus (USUV) is a neurotropic flavivirus closely related to West Nile virus (WNV). Its enzootic cycle mainly involves mosquitoes and birds. Human infection can occur with occasional, but sometimes severe, neurological complications. Since its emergence and spread in Europe over the last [...] Read more.
Usutu virus (USUV) is a neurotropic flavivirus closely related to West Nile virus (WNV). Its enzootic cycle mainly involves mosquitoes and birds. Human infection can occur with occasional, but sometimes severe, neurological complications. Since its emergence and spread in Europe over the last two decades, USUV has been linked to significant avian outbreaks, especially among Passeriformes, including European blackbirds (Turdus merula). Strikingly, no in vivo avian model exists so far to study this arbovirus. The domestic canary (Serinus canaria) is a passerine, which is considered as a highly susceptible model of infection by WNV. Here, we experimentally challenged domestic canaries with two different doses of USUV. All inoculated birds presented detectable amounts of viral RNA in the blood and RNA shedding via feathers and droppings during the early stages of the infection, as determined by RT-qPCR. Mortality occurred in both infected groups (1/5 and 2/5, respectively) and was not necessarily correlated to a pure neurological disease. Subsequent analyses of samples from dead birds showed histopathological changes and virus tropism mimicking those reported in naturally infected birds. A robust seroconversion followed the infection in almost all the surviving canaries. Altogether, these results demonstrate that domestic canaries constitute an interesting experimental model for the study of USUV pathogenesis and transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
RNA Viruses of Amblyomma variegatum and Rhipicephalus microplus and Cattle Susceptibility in the French Antilles
Viruses 2020, 12(2), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12020144 - 26 Jan 2020
Abstract
Ticks transmit a wide variety of pathogens including bacteria, parasites and viruses. Over the last decade, numerous novel viruses have been described in arthropods, including ticks, and their characterization has provided new insights into RNA virus diversity and evolution. However, little is known [...] Read more.
Ticks transmit a wide variety of pathogens including bacteria, parasites and viruses. Over the last decade, numerous novel viruses have been described in arthropods, including ticks, and their characterization has provided new insights into RNA virus diversity and evolution. However, little is known about their ability to infect vertebrates. As very few studies have described the diversity of viruses present in ticks from the Caribbean, we implemented an RNA-sequencing approach on Amblyomma variegatum and Rhipicephalus microplus ticks collected from cattle in Guadeloupe and Martinique. Among the viral communities infecting Caribbean ticks, we selected four viruses belonging to the Chuviridae, Phenuiviridae and Flaviviridae families for further characterization and designing antibody screening tests. While viral prevalence in individual tick samples revealed high infection rates, suggesting a high level of exposure of Caribbean cattle to these viruses, no seropositive animals were detected. These results suggest that the Chuviridae- and Phenuiviridae-related viruses identified in the present study are more likely tick endosymbionts, raising the question of the epidemiological significance of their occurrence in ticks, especially regarding their possible impact on tick biology and vector capacity. The characterization of these viruses might open the door to new ways of preventing and controlling tick-borne diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Approach for Insertion of Heterologous Sequences into Full-Length ZIKV Genome Results in Superior Level of Gene Expression and Insert Stability
Viruses 2020, 12(1), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010061 - 03 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in the Americas in 2015, presenting unique challenges to public health. Unlike other arboviruses of the Flaviviridae family, it is transmissible by sexual contact, which facilitates the spread of the virus into new geographic areas. Additionally, ZIKV can be [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV) emerged in the Americas in 2015, presenting unique challenges to public health. Unlike other arboviruses of the Flaviviridae family, it is transmissible by sexual contact, which facilitates the spread of the virus into new geographic areas. Additionally, ZIKV can be transmitted from mother to fetus, causing microcephaly and other severe developmental abnormalities. Reliable and easy-to-work-with clones of ZIKV expressing heterologous genes will significantly facilitate studies aimed at understanding the virus pathogenesis and tissue tropism. Here, we developed and characterized two novel approaches for expression of heterologous genes of interest in the context of full-length ZIKV genome and compared them to two previously published strategies for ZIKV-mediated gene expression. We demonstrated that among the four tested viruses expressing nLuc gene, the virus constructed using a newly developed approach of partial capsid gene duplication (PCGD) attained the highest titer in Vero cells and resulted in the highest level of nLuc expression. Suitability of the PCGD approach for expression of different genes of interest was validated by replacing nLuc sequence with that of eGFP gene. The generated constructs were further characterized in cell culture. Potential applications of ZIKV clones stably expressing heterologous genes include development of detection assays, antivirals, therapeutics, live imaging systems, and vaccines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Viruses Found in Antricola Ticks Collected in Bat Caves in the Western Amazonia of Brazil
Viruses 2020, 12(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010048 - 31 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this study, we describe the viral composition of adult Antricola delacruzi ticks collected in a hot bat cave in the state of Rondônia, Western Amazonia, Brazil. A. delacruzi ticks, are special, compared to many other ticks, in that they feed on both [...] Read more.
In this study, we describe the viral composition of adult Antricola delacruzi ticks collected in a hot bat cave in the state of Rondônia, Western Amazonia, Brazil. A. delacruzi ticks, are special, compared to many other ticks, in that they feed on both bats (larval blood feeding) and bat guano (nymphal and adult feeding) instead of feeding exclusively on vertebrate hosts (blood feeding). Considering this unique life-cycle it is potentially possible that these ticks can pick up/be infected by viruses not only present in the blood of viremic bats but also by virus shed through the bat guano. The viral metagenomic investigation of adult ticks showed that single-stranded negative-sense RNA viruses were the dominant group of viruses identified in the investigated ticks. Out of these, members of the Nairoviridae family were in clear majority constituting 88% of all viral reads in the data set. Genetic and phylogenetic analyses indicate the presence of several different orthonairoviruses in the investigated ticks with only distant relationship to previously described ones. In addition, identification of viral sequences belonging to Orthomyxoviridae, Iflaviridae, Dicistroviridae, Polycipiviridae, Reoviridae and different unclassified RNA viruses showed the presence of viruses with low sequence similarity to previously described viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Exposure of Wild Ungulates to the Usutu and Tick-Borne Encephalitis Viruses in France in 2009–2014: Evidence of Undetected Flavivirus Circulation a Decade Ago
Viruses 2020, 12(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010010 - 19 Dec 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Flaviviruses have become increasingly important pathogens in Europe over the past few decades. A better understanding of the spatiotemporal distribution of flaviviruses in France is needed to better define risk areas and to gain knowledge of the dynamics of virus transmission cycles. Serum [...] Read more.
Flaviviruses have become increasingly important pathogens in Europe over the past few decades. A better understanding of the spatiotemporal distribution of flaviviruses in France is needed to better define risk areas and to gain knowledge of the dynamics of virus transmission cycles. Serum samples from 1014 wild boar and 758 roe deer from 16 departments (administrative units) in France collected from 2009 to 2014 were screened for flavivirus antibodies using a competitive ELISA (cELISA) technique. Serum samples found to be positive or doubtful by cELISA were then tested for antibodies directed against West Nile virus (WNV), Usutu virus (USUV), Bagaza virus (BAGV), and tick-borne encephalitis/Louping ill viruses (TBEV/LIV) by microsphere immunoassays (except BAGV) and micro-neutralization tests. USUV antibodies were detected only in southeastern and southwestern areas. TBEV/LIV antibodies were detected in serum samples from eastern, southwestern and northern departments. The results indicate continuous circulation of USUV in southern France from 2009 to 2014, which was unnoticed by the French monitoring system for bird mortality. The findings also confirm wider distribution of TBEV in the eastern part of the country than of human clinical cases. However, further studies are needed to determine the tick-borne flavivirus responsible for the seroconversion in southwestern and northern France. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Zika Virus Surveillance at the Human–Animal Interface in West-Central Brazil, 2017–2018
by Alex Pauvolid-Corrêa , Helver Gonçalves Dias , Laura Marina Siqueira Maia , Grasiela Porfírio , Thais Oliveira Morgado , Gilberto Sabino-Santos , Paula Helena Santa Rita , Wanessa Teixeira Gomes Barreto , Gabriel Carvalho de Macedo , Jaire Marinho Torres , Wesley Arruda Gimenes Nantes , Filipe Martins Santos , William Oliveira de Assis , Andreza Castro Rucco , Rafael Mamoru dos Santos Yui , João Bosco Vilela Campos , Renato Rodrigues Leandro e Silva , Raquel da Silva Ferreira , Nilvanei Aparecido da Silva Neves , Michell Charlles de Souza Costa , Leticia Ramos Martins , Emerson Marques de Souza , Michellen dos Santos Carvalho , Marina Gonçalves Lima , Fernanda de Cássia Gonçalves Alves , Luiz Humberto Guimarães Riquelme-Junior , Luan Luiz Batista Figueiró , Matheus Fernandes Gomes de Santana , Luiz Gustavo Rodrigues Oliveira Santos , Samara Serra Medeiros , Larissa Lopes Seino , Emily Hime Miranda , José Henrique Rezende Linhares , Vanessa de Oliveira Santos , Stephanie Almeida da Silva , Kelly Araújo Lúcio , Viviane Silva Gomes , Alexandre de Araújo Oliveira , Julia dos Santos Silva , William de Almeida Marques , Marcio Schafer Marques , José Junior França de Barros , Letícia Campos , Dinair Couto-Lima , Claudia Coutinho Netto , Christine Strüssmann , Nicholas Panella , Emily Hannon , Barbara Cristina de Macedo , Júlia Ramos de Almeida , Karen Ramos Ribeiro , Maria Carolina Barros de Castro , Larissa Pratta Campos , Ana Paula Rosa dos Santos , Isabelle Marino de Souza , Mateus de Assis Bianchini , Sandra Helena Ramiro Correa , Renato Ordones Baptista Luz , Ananda dos Santos Vieira , Luzia Maria de Oliveira Pinto , Elzinandes Azeredo , Luiz Tadeu Moraes Figueiredo , Jeronimo Augusto Fonseca Alencar , Sheila Maria Barbosa de Lima , Heitor Miraglia Herrera , Renata Dezengrini Shlessarenko , Flavia Barreto dos Santos , Ana Maria Bispo de Filippis , Stephanie Salyer , Joel Montgomery and Nicholas Komar
Viruses 2019, 11(12), 1164; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11121164 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV) was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda but was not considered a public health threat until 2007 when it found to be the source of epidemic activity in Asia. Epidemic activity spread to Brazil in 2014 and continued to spread [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV) was first discovered in 1947 in Uganda but was not considered a public health threat until 2007 when it found to be the source of epidemic activity in Asia. Epidemic activity spread to Brazil in 2014 and continued to spread throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas. Despite ZIKV being zoonotic in origin, information about transmission, or even exposure of non-human vertebrates and mosquitoes to ZIKV in the Americas, is lacking. Accordingly, from February 2017 to March 2018, we sought evidence of sylvatic ZIKV transmission by sampling whole blood from approximately 2000 domestic and wild vertebrates of over 100 species in West-Central Brazil within the active human ZIKV transmission area. In addition, we collected over 24,300 mosquitoes of at least 17 genera and 62 species. We screened whole blood samples and mosquito pools for ZIKV RNA using pan-flavivirus primers in a real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in a SYBR Green platform. Positives were confirmed using ZIKV-specific envelope gene real-time RT-PCR and nucleotide sequencing. Of the 2068 vertebrates tested, none were ZIKV positive. Of the 23,315 non-engorged mosquitoes consolidated into 1503 pools tested, 22 (1.5%) with full data available showed some degree of homology to insect-specific flaviviruses. To identify previous exposure to ZIKV, 1498 plasma samples representing 62 species of domestic and sylvatic vertebrates were tested for ZIKV-neutralizing antibodies by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT90). From these, 23 (1.5%) of seven species were seropositive for ZIKV and negative for dengue virus serotype 2, yellow fever virus, and West Nile virus, suggesting potential monotypic reaction for ZIKV. Results presented here suggest no active transmission of ZIKV in non-human vertebrate populations or in alternative vector candidates, but suggest that vertebrates around human populations have indeed been exposed to ZIKV in West-Central Brazil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Survey and Characterization of Jingmen Tick Virus Variants
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111071 - 17 Nov 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
We obtained a Jingmen tick virus (JMTV) isolate, following inoculation of a tick pool with detectable Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) RNA. We subsequently screened 7223 ticks, representing 15 species in five genera, collected from various regions in Anatolia and eastern Thrace, Turkey. [...] Read more.
We obtained a Jingmen tick virus (JMTV) isolate, following inoculation of a tick pool with detectable Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) RNA. We subsequently screened 7223 ticks, representing 15 species in five genera, collected from various regions in Anatolia and eastern Thrace, Turkey. Moreover, we tested specimens from various patient cohorts (n = 103), and canine (n = 60), bovine (n = 20) and avian specimens (n = 65). JMTV nucleic acids were detected in 3.9% of the tick pools, including those from several tick species from the genera Rhipicephalus and Haemaphysalis, and Hyalomma marginatum, the main vector of CCHFV in Turkey. Phylogenetic analysis supported two separate clades, independent of host or location, suggesting ubiquitous distribution in ticks. JMTV was not recovered from any human, animal or bird specimens tested. Near-complete viral genomes were sequenced from the prototype isolate and from three infected tick pools. Genome topology and functional organization were identical to the members of Jingmen group viruses. Phylogenetic reconstruction of individual viral genome segments and functional elements further supported the close relationship of the strains from Kosovo. We further identified probable recombination events in the JMTV genome, involving closely-related strains from Anatolia or China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Monocyte-Derived Macrophage Culture Increases Zika Virus Isolation Rate from Human Plasma
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1058; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111058 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Viral isolation is desirable for many reasons, including development of diagnostic assays and reference materials, and for virology basic research. Zika virus (ZIKV) isolation from clinical samples is challenging, but isolates are known to infect various cell lines. Here, we evaluated suitability of [...] Read more.
Viral isolation is desirable for many reasons, including development of diagnostic assays and reference materials, and for virology basic research. Zika virus (ZIKV) isolation from clinical samples is challenging, but isolates are known to infect various cell lines. Here, we evaluated suitability of Vero, C6/36 and JEG-3 as host cells, for direct isolation of ZIKV from human plasma. We also assessed the use of primary monocyte-derived macrophages (MDMs) culture to enhance ZIKV isolation from human plasma samples followed by virus expansion in Vero, C6/36 and JEG-3 cultures. Direct inoculation of cell lines with 42 ZIKV-RNA positive samples resulted in isolation rates of 9.52% (4/42) in Vero and C6/36, and of 7.14% (3/42) in JEG-3 cells. Inoculation of plasma in MDMs followed by supernatant testing by TaqMan RT-PCR, resulted in 33/42 (78.57%) ZIKV-RNA-positive supernatants, which expansion in cell lines increased isolation rates to 24.24% (8/33) in Vero and to 27.27% (9/33) in C6/36 and JEG-3 regardless of the presence of ZIKV-antibody. Isolates generated in JEG-3 cells were also produced in Vero and C6/36 with similar viral titers. These results suggest that efficiency of ZIKV isolation from human plasma can be enhanced when MDM culture is used before viral expansion in cell lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Zika Virus Dissemination from the Midgut of Aedes aegypti is Facilitated by Bloodmeal-Mediated Structural Modification of the Midgut Basal Lamina
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111056 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The arboviral disease cycle requires that key tissues in the arthropod vector become persistently infected with the virus. The midgut is the first organ in the mosquito that needs to be productively infected with an orally acquired virus. Following midgut infection, the virus [...] Read more.
The arboviral disease cycle requires that key tissues in the arthropod vector become persistently infected with the virus. The midgut is the first organ in the mosquito that needs to be productively infected with an orally acquired virus. Following midgut infection, the virus then disseminates to secondary tissues including the salivary glands. Once these are productively infected, the mosquito is able to transmit the virus to a vertebrate host. Recently, we described the midgut dissemination pattern for chikungunya virus in Aedes aegypti. Here we assess the dissemination pattern in the same mosquito species for Zika virus (ZIKV), a human pathogenic virus belonging to the Flaviviridae. ZIKV infection of secondary tissues, indicative of dissemination from the midgut, was not observed before 72 h post infectious bloodmeal (pibm). Virion accumulation at the midgut basal lamina (BL) was only sporadic, although at 96–120 h pibm, virions were frequently observed between strands of the BL indicative of their dissemination. Our data suggest that ZIKV dissemination from the mosquito midgut occurs after digestion of the bloodmeal. Using gold-nanoparticles of 5 nm and 50 nm size, we show that meal ingestion leads to severe midgut tissue distention, causing the mesh width of the BL to remain enlarged after complete digestion of the meal. This could explain how ZIKV can exit the midgut via the BL after bloodmeal digestion. Ingestion of a subsequent, non-infectious bloodmeal five days after acquisition of an initial, dengue 4 virus containing bloodmeal resulted in an increased number of virions present in the midgut epithelium adjacent to the BL. Thus, subsequent bloodmeal ingestion by an infected mosquito may primarily stimulate de novo synthesis of virions leading to increased viral titers in the vector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Geographical Variability Affects CCHFV Detection by RT–PCR: A Tool for In-Silico Evaluation of Molecular Assays
Viruses 2019, 11(10), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11100953 - 16 Oct 2019
Abstract
The Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is considered to be a major emerging infectious threat, according to the WHO R&D blueprint. A wide range of CCHFV molecular assays have been developed, employing varied primer/probe combinations. The high genetic variability of CCHFV often hampers [...] Read more.
The Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is considered to be a major emerging infectious threat, according to the WHO R&D blueprint. A wide range of CCHFV molecular assays have been developed, employing varied primer/probe combinations. The high genetic variability of CCHFV often hampers the efficacy of available molecular tests and can affect their diagnostic potential. Recently, increasing numbers of complete CCHFV genomic sequences have become available, allowing a better appreciation of the genomic evolution of this virus. We summarized the current knowledge on molecular methods and developed a new bioinformatics tool to evaluate the existing assays for CCHFV detection, with a special focus on strains circulating in different geographical areas. Twenty-two molecular methods and 181 sequences of CCHFV were collected, respectively, from PubMed and GenBank databases. Up to 28 mismatches between primers and probes of each assay and CCHFV strains were detected through in-silico PCR analysis. Combinations of up to three molecular methods markedly decreased the number of mismatches within most geographic areas. These results supported the good practice of CCHFV detection of performing more than one assay, aimed for different sequence targets. The choice of the most appropriate tests must take into account patient’s travel history and geographic distribution of the different CCHFV strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Differential Susceptibility and Innate Immune Response of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus to the Haitian Strain of the Mayaro Virus
Viruses 2019, 11(10), 924; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11100924 - 09 Oct 2019
Abstract
Mayaro (MAYV) is an emerging arthropod-borne virus belonging to the Alphavirus genus of the Togaviridae family. Although forest-dwelling Haemagogus mosquitoes have been considered as its main vector, the virus has also been detected in circulating Aedes ssp mosquitoes. Here we assess the susceptibility [...] Read more.
Mayaro (MAYV) is an emerging arthropod-borne virus belonging to the Alphavirus genus of the Togaviridae family. Although forest-dwelling Haemagogus mosquitoes have been considered as its main vector, the virus has also been detected in circulating Aedes ssp mosquitoes. Here we assess the susceptibility of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus to infection with MAYV and their innate immune response at an early stage of infection. Aedes albopictus was more susceptible to infection with MAYV than Ae. aegypti. Analysis of transcript levels of twenty immunity-related genes by real-time PCR in the midgut of both mosquitoes infected with MAYV revealed increased expression of several immune genes, including CLIP-domain serine proteases, the anti-microbial peptides defensin A, E, cecropin E, and the virus inducible gene. The regulation of certain genes appeared to be Aedes species-dependent. Infection of Ae. aegypti with MAYV resulted in increased levels of myeloid differentiation2-related lipid recognition protein (ML26A) transcripts, as compared to Ae. albopictus. Increased expression levels of thio-ester-containing protein 22 (TEP22) and Niemann–Pick type C1 (NPC1) gene transcripts were observed in infected Ae. albopictus, but not Ae. aegypti. The differences in these gene expression levels during MAYV infection could explain the variation in susceptibility observed in both mosquito species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
A New High-Throughput Tool to Screen Mosquito-Borne Viruses in Zika Virus Endemic/Epidemic Areas
Viruses 2019, 11(10), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11100904 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Mosquitoes are vectors of arboviruses affecting animal and human health. Arboviruses circulate primarily within an enzootic cycle and recurrent spillovers contribute to the emergence of human-adapted viruses able to initiate an urban cycle involving anthropophilic mosquitoes. The increasing volume of travel and trade [...] Read more.
Mosquitoes are vectors of arboviruses affecting animal and human health. Arboviruses circulate primarily within an enzootic cycle and recurrent spillovers contribute to the emergence of human-adapted viruses able to initiate an urban cycle involving anthropophilic mosquitoes. The increasing volume of travel and trade offers multiple opportunities for arbovirus introduction in new regions. This scenario has been exemplified recently with the Zika pandemic. To incriminate a mosquito as vector of a pathogen, several criteria are required such as the detection of natural infections in mosquitoes. In this study, we used a high-throughput chip based on the BioMark™ Dynamic arrays system capable of detecting 64 arboviruses in a single experiment. A total of 17,958 mosquitoes collected in Zika-endemic/epidemic countries (Brazil, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Suriname, Senegal, and Cambodia) were analyzed. Here we show that this new tool can detect endemic and epidemic viruses in different mosquito species in an epidemic context. Thus, this fast and low-cost method can be suggested as a novel epidemiological surveillance tool to identify circulating arboviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of Two Highly Diverse Peribunyaviruses in Mosquitoes from Palenque, Mexico
Viruses 2019, 11(9), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11090832 - 07 Sep 2019
Abstract
The Peribunyaviridae family contains the genera Orthobunyavirus, Herbevirus, Pacuvirus, and Shangavirus. Orthobunyaviruses and pacuviruses are mainly transmitted by blood-feeding insects and infect a variety of vertebrates whereas herbeviruses and shangaviruses have a host range restricted to insects. Here, we [...] Read more.
The Peribunyaviridae family contains the genera Orthobunyavirus, Herbevirus, Pacuvirus, and Shangavirus. Orthobunyaviruses and pacuviruses are mainly transmitted by blood-feeding insects and infect a variety of vertebrates whereas herbeviruses and shangaviruses have a host range restricted to insects. Here, we tested mosquitoes from a tropical rainforest in Mexico for infections with peribunyaviruses. We identified and characterized two previously unknown viruses, designated Baakal virus (BKAV) and Lakamha virus (LAKV). Sequencing and de novo assembly of the entire BKAV and LAKV genomes revealed that BKAV is an orthobunyavirus and LAKV is likely to belong to a new genus. LAKV was almost equidistant to the established peribunyavirus genera and branched as a deep rooting solitary lineage basal to herbeviruses. Virus isolation attempts of LAKV failed. BKAV is most closely related to the bird-associated orthobunyaviruses Koongol virus and Gamboa virus. BKAV was successfully isolated in mosquito cells but did not replicate in common mammalian cells from various species and organs. Also cells derived from chicken were not susceptible. Interestingly, BKAV can infect cells derived from a duck species that is endemic in the region where the BKAV-positive mosquito was collected. These results suggest a narrow host specificity and maintenance in a mosquito–bird transmission cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Updated Phylogeny of Chikungunya Virus Suggests Lineage-Specific RNA Architecture
Viruses 2019, 11(9), 798; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11090798 - 29 Aug 2019
Abstract
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a mosquito-borne alphavirus of the family Togaviridae, has recently emerged in the Americas from lineages from two continents: Asia and Africa. Historically, CHIKV circulated as at least four lineages worldwide with both enzootic and epidemic transmission cycles. To understand the [...] Read more.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), a mosquito-borne alphavirus of the family Togaviridae, has recently emerged in the Americas from lineages from two continents: Asia and Africa. Historically, CHIKV circulated as at least four lineages worldwide with both enzootic and epidemic transmission cycles. To understand the recent patterns of emergence and the current status of the CHIKV spread, updated analyses of the viral genetic data and metadata are needed. Here, we performed phylogenetic and comparative genomics screens of CHIKV genomes, taking advantage of the public availability of many recently sequenced isolates. Based on these new data and analyses, we derive a revised phylogeny from nucleotide sequences in coding regions. Using this phylogeny, we uncover the presence of several distinct lineages in Africa that were previously considered a single one. In parallel, we performed thermodynamic modeling of CHIKV untranslated regions (UTRs), which revealed evolutionarily conserved structured and unstructured RNA elements in the 3’UTR. We provide evidence for duplication events in recently emerged American isolates of the Asian CHIKV lineage and propose the existence of a flexible 3’UTR architecture among different CHIKV lineages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Evaluation of a Duo Chikungunya Virus Real-Time RT-PCR Assay Targeting Two Regions within the Genome
Viruses 2019, 11(8), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11080755 - 15 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) re-emerged as a globalized health threat fifteen years ago. There are dozens of RT-PCR assays published. An inventory of the latter was made, and after in silico analysis, two assays were selected for their ability to detect strains belonging to [...] Read more.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) re-emerged as a globalized health threat fifteen years ago. There are dozens of RT-PCR assays published. An inventory of the latter was made, and after in silico analysis, two assays were selected for their ability to detect strains belonging to the five CHIKV genetic lineages. They were combined in order to provide a robust assay not affected by genetic point mutations and the resulting Duo CHIKV real-time RT-PCR assay was compared to the two parental single-plex tests against five strains belonging to the five genetic lineages. The Duo CHIKV assay performed equally, or better, in terms of sensitivity, specificity, linearity and signal intensity. Dual-target assays are better suited for viruses having the propensity to evolve into new variants via point mutations or major sequence deletions/insertions. Here, we demonstrated that combining two single systems into a dual-target assay did not impair sensitivity and specificity, and proved a potent diagnostic tool to face a potential emergence of CHIKV variants by newly evolving mutations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Tick Phlebovirus Genotypes Lacking Evidence for Vertebrate Infections in Anatolia and Thrace, Turkey
Viruses 2019, 11(8), 703; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11080703 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
We screened ticks and human clinical specimens to detect and characterize tick phleboviruses and pathogenicity in vertebrates. Ticks were collected at locations in Istanbul (Northwest Anatolia, Thrace), Edirne, Kırklareli, and Tekirdağ (Thrace), Mersin (Mediterranean Anatolia), Adiyaman and Şanlıurfa (Southeastern Anatolia) provinces from 2013–2018 [...] Read more.
We screened ticks and human clinical specimens to detect and characterize tick phleboviruses and pathogenicity in vertebrates. Ticks were collected at locations in Istanbul (Northwest Anatolia, Thrace), Edirne, Kırklareli, and Tekirdağ (Thrace), Mersin (Mediterranean Anatolia), Adiyaman and Şanlıurfa (Southeastern Anatolia) provinces from 2013–2018 and were analyzed following morphological identification and pooling. Specimens from individuals with febrile disease or meningoencephalitic symptoms of an unknown etiology were also evaluated. The pools were screened via generic tick phlebovirus amplification assays and products were sequenced. Selected pools were used for cell culture and suckling mice inoculations and next generation sequencing (NGS). A total of 7492 ticks were screened in 609 pools where 4.2% were positive. A phylogenetic sequence clustering according to tick species was observed. No human samples were positive. NGS provided near-complete viral replicase coding sequences in three pools. A comprehensive analysis revealed three distinct, monophyletic virus genotypes, comprised of previously-described viruses from Anatolia and the Balkans, with unique fingerprints in conserved amino acid motifs in viral replicase. A novel tick phlebovirus group was discovered circulating in the Balkans and Turkey, with at least three genotypes or species. No evidence for replication in vertebrates or infections in clinical cases could be demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Reverse Genetics of RNA Viruses: ISA-Based Approach to Control Viral Population Diversity without Modifying Virus Phenotype
Viruses 2019, 11(7), 666; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11070666 - 20 Jul 2019
Abstract
Reverse genetic systems are essential for the study of RNA viruses. Infectious clones remain the most widely used systems to manipulate viral genomes. Recently, a new PCR-based method called ISA (infectious subgenomic amplicons) has been developed. This approach has resulted in greater genetic [...] Read more.
Reverse genetic systems are essential for the study of RNA viruses. Infectious clones remain the most widely used systems to manipulate viral genomes. Recently, a new PCR-based method called ISA (infectious subgenomic amplicons) has been developed. This approach has resulted in greater genetic diversity of the viral populations than that observed using infectious clone technology. However, for some studies, generation of clonal viral populations is necessary. In this study, we used the tick-borne encephalitis virus as model to demonstrate that utilization of a very high-fidelity, DNA-dependent DNA polymerase during the PCR step of the ISA procedure gives the possibility to reduce the genetic diversity of viral populations. We also concluded that the fidelity of the polymerase is not the only factor influencing this diversity. Studying the impact of genotype modification on virus phenotype is a crucial step for the development of reverse genetic methods. Here, we also demonstrated that the utilization of different PCR polymerases did not affect the phenotype (replicative fitness in cellulo and virulence in vivo) compared to the initial ISA procedure and the use of an infectious clone. In conclusion, we provide here an approach to control the genetic diversity of RNA viruses without modifying their phenotype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessCommunication
Co-Circulation of West Nile and Usutu Flaviviruses in Mosquitoes in Slovakia, 2018
Viruses 2019, 11(7), 639; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11070639 - 12 Jul 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Monitoring West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) activity now has the highest priority among mosquito-borne pathogenic viruses circulating in the European Union. This study documents a first time detection and the co-circulation of WNV lineage-2 (with the minimal prevalence of 0.46%) [...] Read more.
Monitoring West Nile virus (WNV) and Usutu virus (USUV) activity now has the highest priority among mosquito-borne pathogenic viruses circulating in the European Union. This study documents a first time detection and the co-circulation of WNV lineage-2 (with the minimal prevalence of 0.46%) and USUV clade Europe 2 (with the minimal prevalence of 0.25%) in mosquitoes from the same habitat of south-western Slovakia and underlines necessity to perform rigorous surveillance in birds, mosquitoes, horses and humans in that country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Storage-Dependent Generation of Potent Anti-ZIKV Activity in Human Breast Milk
Viruses 2019, 11(7), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11070591 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV) causes congenital neurologic birth defects, notably microcephaly, and has been associated with other serious complications in adults. The virus has been detected in human breast milk and possible transmissions via breastfeeding have been reported. Breast milk is rich in nutrients [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV) causes congenital neurologic birth defects, notably microcephaly, and has been associated with other serious complications in adults. The virus has been detected in human breast milk and possible transmissions via breastfeeding have been reported. Breast milk is rich in nutrients and bio-active substances that might directly affect viral infectivity. Thus, here, we analyzed the effect of human breast milk on ZIKV infection. We observed that fresh human breast milk had no effect on ZIKV, but found that upon storage, milk effectively suppressed infection. The antiviral activity is present in the fat-containing cream fraction of milk and results in the destruction of the structural integrity of viral particles, thereby abrogating infectivity. The release of the factor is time dependent but varies with donors and incubation temperatures. The viral titer of milk that was spiked with ZIKV decreased considerably upon storage at 37 °C for 8 h, was lost entirely after 2 days of 4 °C storage, but was not affected at −20 °C. This suggests that cold storage of milk inactivates ZIKV and that the antiviral factor in milk may also be generated upon breastfeeding and limit this transmission route of ZIKV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Establishment of a Cell Culture Model of Persistent Flaviviral Infection: Usutu Virus Shows Sustained Replication during Passages and Resistance to Extinction by Antiviral Nucleosides
Viruses 2019, 11(6), 560; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11060560 - 17 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Chronic viral disease constitutes a major global health problem, with several hundred million people affected and an associated elevated number of deaths. An increasing number of disorders caused by human flaviviruses are related to their capacity to establish a persistent infection. Here we [...] Read more.
Chronic viral disease constitutes a major global health problem, with several hundred million people affected and an associated elevated number of deaths. An increasing number of disorders caused by human flaviviruses are related to their capacity to establish a persistent infection. Here we show that Usutu virus (USUV), an emerging zoonotic flavivirus linked to sporadic neurologic disease in humans, can establish a persistent infection in cell culture. Two independent lineages of Vero cells surviving USUV lytic infection were cultured over 82 days (41 cell transfers) without any apparent cytopathology crisis associated. We found elevated titers in the supernatant of these cells, with modest fluctuations during passages but no overall tendency towards increased or decreased infectivity. In addition to full-length genomes, viral RNA isolated from these cells at passage 40 revealed the presence of defective genomes, containing different deletions at the 5’ end. These truncated transcripts were all predicted to encode shorter polyprotein products lacking membrane and envelope structural proteins, and most of non-structural protein 1. Treatment with different broad-range antiviral nucleosides revealed that USUV is sensitive to these compounds in the context of a persistent infection, in agreement with previous observations during lytic infections. The exposure of infected cells to prolonged treatment (10 days) with favipiravir and/or ribavirin resulted in the complete clearance of infectivity in the cellular supernatants (decrease of ~5 log10 in virus titers and RNA levels), although modest changes in intracellular viral RNA levels were recorded (<2 log10 decrease). Drug withdrawal after treatment day 10 resulted in a relapse in virus titers. These results encourage the use of persistently-infected cultures as a surrogate system in the identification of improved antivirals against flaviviral chronic disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Host Immune Response to ZIKV in an Immunocompetent Embryonic Mouse Model of Intravaginal Infection
Viruses 2019, 11(6), 558; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11060558 - 17 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Zika virus (ZIKV) only induces mild symptoms in adults; however, it can cause congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), including microcephaly. Most of the knowledge on ZIKV pathogenesis was gained using immunocompromised mouse models, which do not fully recapitulate human pathology. Moreover, the study of [...] Read more.
Zika virus (ZIKV) only induces mild symptoms in adults; however, it can cause congenital Zika syndrome (CZS), including microcephaly. Most of the knowledge on ZIKV pathogenesis was gained using immunocompromised mouse models, which do not fully recapitulate human pathology. Moreover, the study of the host immune response to ZIKV becomes challenging in these animals. Thus, the main goal of this study was to develop an immunocompetent mouse model to study the ZIKV spread and teratogeny. FVB/NJ immune competent dams were infected intravaginally with ZIKV during the early stage of pregnancy. We found that the placentae of most fetuses were positive for ZIKV, while the virus was detected in the brain of only about 42% of the embryos. To investigate the host immune response, we measured the expression of several inflammatory factors. Embryos from ZIKV-infected dams had an increased level of inflammatory factors, as compared to Mock. Next, we compared the gene expression levels in embryos from ZIKV-infected dams that were either negative or positive for ZIKV in the brain. The mRNA levels of viral response genes and cytokines were increased in both ZIKV-positive and negative brains. Interestingly, the levels of chemokines associated with microcephaly in humans, including CCL2 and CXCL10, specifically increased in embryos harboring ZIKV in the embryo brains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Presence of Antibodies against Sindbis Virus in the Israeli Population: A Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study
Viruses 2019, 11(6), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11060542 - 11 Jun 2019
Abstract
Sindbis virus (SINV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus circulating globally. SINV outbreaks have been mainly reported in North-European countries. In Israel, SINV was detected in 6.3% of mosquito pools; however, SINV infection in humans has rarely been diagnosed. A serologic survey to detect SINV [...] Read more.
Sindbis virus (SINV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus circulating globally. SINV outbreaks have been mainly reported in North-European countries. In Israel, SINV was detected in 6.3% of mosquito pools; however, SINV infection in humans has rarely been diagnosed. A serologic survey to detect SINV IgG antibodies was conducted to evaluate the seroprevalence of SINV in the Israeli population. In total, 3145 serum samples collected in 2011–2014, representing all age and population groups in Israel, were assessed using an indirect ELISA assay, and a neutralization assay was performed on all ELISA-positive samples. The prevalence rates of SINV IgG antibodies were calculated. Logistic regressions models were applied to assess the association between demographic characteristics and SINV seropositivity. Overall, 113 (3.6%) and 59 (1.9%) samples were positive for ELISA and neutralization SINV IgG, respectively. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that SINV seropositivity was significantly associated with older age and residence outside metropolitan areas. These results demonstrate that, despite no outbreaks or clinical presentation, SINV infects the human population in Israel. Seropositivity is countrywide, more frequent in people of older age, and less diffuse in Israel’s metropolitan areas. Seroprevalence studies from other countries will add to our understanding of the global burden of SINV and the risk for potential SINV outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Detection of a Novel Phlebovirus (Drin Virus) from Sand Flies in Albania
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050469 - 23 May 2019
Abstract
Phlebotomine sand flies are generalist vectors with significant implications for public health. They are able to transmit phleboviruses that cause sand fly fever, headaches, or meningitis in humans. Albania is a country in Southeast Europe with a typical Mediterranean climate which provides convenient [...] Read more.
Phlebotomine sand flies are generalist vectors with significant implications for public health. They are able to transmit phleboviruses that cause sand fly fever, headaches, or meningitis in humans. Albania is a country in Southeast Europe with a typical Mediterranean climate which provides convenient conditions for the presence of sand flies. Hence, the circulation of phleboviruses, such as the Toscana and Balkan viruses, has been recently described in the country. We followed a virus discovery approach on sand fly samples collected in 2015 and 2016 in seven regions of Albania, with the aim to investigate and characterize potentially circulating phleboviruses in phlebotomine sand flies. A presumed novel phlebovirus was detected in a pool consisting of 24 Phlebotomus neglectus males. The virus was provisionally named the Drin virus after a river near the locality of Kukës, where the infected sand flies were trapped. Genetic and phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Drin virus is closely related to the Corfou (CFUV) virus, isolated in the 1980s from Phlebotomus major sand flies on the eponymous island of Greece, and may also be involved in human infections because of its similarity to the sand fly fever Sicilian virus. The latter justifies further studies to specifically address this concern. Together with recent findings, this study confirms that Albania and the Balkan peninsula are hot spots for phleboviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessCommunication
First Isolation and Phylogenetic Analyses of Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus in Lower Saxony, Germany
Viruses 2019, 11(5), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11050462 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is the most important tick-borne arboviral disease in Europe. Presently, the main endemic regions in Germany are located in the southern half of the country. Although recently, sporadic human TBE cases were reported outside of these known endemic regions. The [...] Read more.
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is the most important tick-borne arboviral disease in Europe. Presently, the main endemic regions in Germany are located in the southern half of the country. Although recently, sporadic human TBE cases were reported outside of these known endemic regions. The detection and characterization of invading TBE virus (TBEV) strains will considerably facilitate the surveillance and assessment of this important disease. In 2018, ticks were collected by flagging in several locations of the German federal state of Lower Saxony where TBEV-infections in humans (diagnosed clinical TBE disease or detection of TBEV antibodies) were reported previously. Ticks were pooled according to their developmental stage and tested for TBEV-RNA by RT-qPCR. Five of 730 (0.68%) pools from Ixodes spp. ticks collected in the areas of “Rauher Busch” and “Barsinghausen/Mooshuette” were found positive for TBEV-RNA. Phylogenetic analysis of the whole genomes and E gene sequences revealed a close relationship between the two TBEV isolates, which cluster with a TBEV strain from Poland isolated in 1971. This study provides first data on the phylogeny of TBEV in the German federal state of Lower Saxony, outside of the known TBE endemic areas of Germany. Our results support the hypothesis of an east-west invasion of TBEV strains in Western Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
A Functional Ubiquitin-Proteasome System is Required for Efficient Replication of New World Mayaro and Una Alphaviruses
Viruses 2019, 11(4), 370; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11040370 - 23 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Mayaro (MAYV) and Una (UNAV) are emerging arboviruses belonging to the Alphavirus genus of the Togaviridae family. These viruses can produce febrile disease with symptoms such as fever, headache, myalgia, skin rash and incapacitating poly-arthralgia. Serological studies indicate that both viruses are circulating [...] Read more.
Mayaro (MAYV) and Una (UNAV) are emerging arboviruses belonging to the Alphavirus genus of the Togaviridae family. These viruses can produce febrile disease with symptoms such as fever, headache, myalgia, skin rash and incapacitating poly-arthralgia. Serological studies indicate that both viruses are circulating in different countries in Latin America. Viruses need the host cell machinery and resources to replicate effectively. One strategy to find new antivirals consists of identifying key cellular pathways or factors that are essential for virus replication. In this study, we analyzed the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in MAYV and UNAV replication. Vero-E6 or HeLa cells were treated with the proteasome inhibitors MG132 or Lactacystin, and viral progeny production was quantified using a plaque assay method. In addition, the synthesis of viral proteins was analyzed by Western blot and confocal microscopy. Our results indicate that treatment with proteasome inhibitors decreases MAYV and UNAV protein synthesis, and also causes a significant dose-dependent decrease in MAYV and UNAV replication. Proteasome activity seems to be important at the early stages of MAYV replication. These findings suggest that the ubiquitin-proteasome system is a possible pharmacological target to inhibit these neglected alphaviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Infection of Sand Flies by Massilia Virus and Viral Transmission by Co-Feeding on Sugar Meal
Viruses 2019, 11(4), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11040332 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Background: Massilia virus (MASV) is a phlebovirus isolated from Phlebotomus perniciosus in various regions of southwestern Europe. It is closely related to human pathogens such as Toscana virus and sandfly fever Naples virus. The natural cycle of phleboviruses is poorly understood. Indeed, experimental [...] Read more.
Background: Massilia virus (MASV) is a phlebovirus isolated from Phlebotomus perniciosus in various regions of southwestern Europe. It is closely related to human pathogens such as Toscana virus and sandfly fever Naples virus. The natural cycle of phleboviruses is poorly understood. Indeed, experimental studies demonstrate that transovarial and sexual transmission are not efficient enough for the maintenance of the virus in nature and to date there is no convincing evidence that a species of vertebrates is the reservoir of the virus. Here, we studied various transmission routes of MASV taking advantage of experimental colonies representing different species of sand flies. Methodology/Principal findings: In P. perniciosus, four sources of infection were compared: (i) Virus-seeded larval food to the first instar larvae (L1), or (ii) to the fourth instar larvae (L4), (iii) virus-seeded blood meal to adult females, and (iv) virus-seeded sugar meal to adults of both sexes. From 875 adults emerged from infected L1 and L4, only three were positive. In females infected by bloodmeal the infection rate was high before defecation, then it decreased drastically; MASV RNA was detected in only 5 out of 27 post-defecation. Surprisingly, the most efficient route of infection was observed after intake of virus-seeded sugar meal: 72% of females (79/110) and 52% of males (51/99) were found to be MASV RNA-positive. In addition, MASV-infected sandflies regurgitated virus particules into the sugar drop and MASV RNA was detectable in this drop for at least 24 h after regurgitation. MASV RNA was detected in about one third of the P. perniciosus exposed to this sugar drop contaminated by regurgitation. Sugar meal infection was also tested with six other species of sand flies. In males, there were no significant differences in infection rates when compared to P. perniciosus. In females, most species tested showed high infection rate at the beginning but then significant gradual decrease in infection rate during the experiment. Conclusions/Significance: We present the first description of arboviral infection of a dipteran vector using sugar meal. In all seven sand fly species tested, MASV was detected for two weeks post-infection. Our results showed that MASV can be transmitted between P. perniciosus either through co-feeding or via an infected sugar source such as plant sap. These newly described routes of horizontal transmission may play an important role in the circulation of phleboviruses in nature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview
Risks and Challenges of Arboviral Diseases in Sudan: The Urgent Need for Actions
Viruses 2020, 12(1), 81; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010081 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The risk of emergence and/or re-emergence of arthropod-borne viral (arboviral) infections is rapidly growing worldwide, particularly in Africa. The burden of arboviral infections and diseases is not well scrutinized because of the inefficient surveillance systems in endemic countries. Furthermore, the health systems are [...] Read more.
The risk of emergence and/or re-emergence of arthropod-borne viral (arboviral) infections is rapidly growing worldwide, particularly in Africa. The burden of arboviral infections and diseases is not well scrutinized because of the inefficient surveillance systems in endemic countries. Furthermore, the health systems are fully occupied by the burden of other co-existing febrile illnesses, especially malaria. In this review we summarize the epidemiology and risk factors associated with the major human arboviral diseases and highlight the gap in knowledge, research, and control in Sudan. Published data in English up to March 2019 were reviewed and are discussed to identify the risks and challenges for the control of arboviruses in the country. In addition, the lack of suitable diagnostic tools such as viral genome sequencing, and the urgent need for establishing a genomic database of the circulating viruses and potential sources of entry are discussed. Moreover, the research and healthcare gaps and global health threats are analyzed, and suggestions for developing strategic health policy for the prevention and control of arboviruses with focus on building the local diagnostic and research capacity and establishing an early warning surveillance system for the early detection and containment of arboviral epidemics are offered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessReview
Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) for the Diagnosis of Zika Virus: A Review
Viruses 2020, 12(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12010019 - 23 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The recent outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas and its devastating developmental and neurological manifestations has prompted the development of field-based diagnostics that are rapid, reliable, handheld, specific, sensitive, and inexpensive. The gold standard molecular method for lab-based diagnosis of ZIKV, [...] Read more.
The recent outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) in the Americas and its devastating developmental and neurological manifestations has prompted the development of field-based diagnostics that are rapid, reliable, handheld, specific, sensitive, and inexpensive. The gold standard molecular method for lab-based diagnosis of ZIKV, from either patient samples or insect vectors, is reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). The method, however, is costly and requires lab-based equipment and expertise, which severely limits its use as a point-of-care (POC) tool in resource-poor settings. Moreover, given the lack of antivirals or approved vaccines for ZIKV infection, a POC diagnostic test is urgently needed for the early detection of new outbreaks and to adequately manage patients. Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is a compelling alternative to RT-qPCR for ZIKV and other arboviruses. This low-cost molecular system can be freeze-dried for distribution and exhibits high specificity, sensitivity, and efficiency. A growing body of evidence suggests that LAMP assays can provide greater accessibility to much-needed diagnostics for ZIKV infections, especially in developing countries where the ZIKV is now endemic. This review summarizes the different LAMP methods that have been developed for the virus and summarizes their features, advantages, and limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessReview
Mosquitoes of North-Western Europe as Potential Vectors of Arboviruses: A Review
Viruses 2019, 11(11), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11111059 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Background: The intensification of trade and travel is linked to the growing number of imported cases of dengue, chikungunya or Zika viruses into continental Europe and to the expansion of invasive mosquito species such as Aedes albopictus and Aedes japonicus. Local outbreaks [...] Read more.
Background: The intensification of trade and travel is linked to the growing number of imported cases of dengue, chikungunya or Zika viruses into continental Europe and to the expansion of invasive mosquito species such as Aedes albopictus and Aedes japonicus. Local outbreaks have already occurred in several European countries. Very little information exists on the vector competence of native mosquitoes for arboviruses. As such, the vectorial status of the nine mosquito species largely established in North-Western Europe (Aedes cinereus and Aedes geminus, Aedes cantans, Aedes punctor, Aedes rusticus, Anopheles claviger s.s., Anopheles plumbeus, Coquillettidia richiardii, Culex pipiens s.l., and Culiseta annulata) remains mostly unknown. Objectives: To review the vector competence of both invasive and native mosquito populations found in North-Western Europe (i.e., France, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom, Ireland, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland) for dengue, chikungunya, Zika, West Nile and Usutu viruses. Methods: A bibliographical search with research strings addressing mosquito vector competence for considered countries was performed. Results: Out of 6357 results, 119 references were related to the vector competence of mosquitoes in Western Europe. Eight species appear to be competent for at least one virus. Conclusions: Aedes albopictus is responsible for the current outbreaks. The spread of Aedes albopictus and Aedes japonicus increases the risk of the autochthonous transmission of these viruses. Although native species could contribute to their transmission, more studies are still needed to assess that risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessBrief Report
Vector-Borne Transmission of the Zika Virus Asian Genotype in Europe
Viruses 2020, 12(3), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12030296 - 09 Mar 2020
Abstract
Three autochthonous cases of Zika virus occurred in southern France in August 2019. Diagnosis relied on serology and transcription-mediated amplification. Attempts for virus isolation and ZIKV genome RT-PCR detection remained negative. Since the index case was not identified, we addressed the issue of [...] Read more.
Three autochthonous cases of Zika virus occurred in southern France in August 2019. Diagnosis relied on serology and transcription-mediated amplification. Attempts for virus isolation and ZIKV genome RT-PCR detection remained negative. Since the index case was not identified, we addressed the issue of genotyping and geographical origin by performing hemi-nested PCR and sequencing in the Pr gene. Analysis of 16 genotype-specific Single Nucleotides Polymorphisms identified the Asian genotype and suggested a Southeast Asia origin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Mayaro Virus Infects Human Chondrocytes and Induces the Expression of Arthritis-Related Genes Associated with Joint Degradation
Viruses 2019, 11(9), 797; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11090797 - 29 Aug 2019
Abstract
Mayaro virus (MAYV) is an emerging arthritogenic alphavirus belonging to the Togaviridae family. Infection leads to a dengue-like illness accompanied by severe polyarthralgia. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of arthritis as a result of MAYV infection remain poorly understood. In the present [...] Read more.
Mayaro virus (MAYV) is an emerging arthritogenic alphavirus belonging to the Togaviridae family. Infection leads to a dengue-like illness accompanied by severe polyarthralgia. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of arthritis as a result of MAYV infection remain poorly understood. In the present study, we assess the susceptibility of human chondrocytes (HC), fibroblast-like synoviocytes and osteoblasts that are the major cell types involved in osteoarthritis, to infection with MAYV. We show that these cells are highly permissive to MAYV infection and that viral RNA copy number and viral titers increase over time in infected cells. Knowing that HC are the primary cells in articular cartilage and are essential for maintaining the cartilaginous matrix, gene expression studies were conducted in MAYV-infected primary HC using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) arrays. The infection of the latter cells resulted in an induction in the expression of several matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) including MMP1, MMP7, MMP8, MMP10, MMP13, MMP14 and MMP15 which could be involved in the destruction of articular cartilage. Infected HC were also found to express significantly increased levels of various IFN-stimulated genes and arthritogenic mediators such as TNF-α and IL-6. In conclusion, MAYV-infected primary HC overexpress arthritis-related genes, which may contribute to joint degradation and pathogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Arboviruses)
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Graphical abstract

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: First isolation and phylogenetic analyses of tick-borne encephalitis virus in Lower Saxony, Germany
Authors: Mathias Boelke, Malena Bestehorn, Birgit Marchwald, Mareike Kubinski, Katrin Liebig, Julien Glanz, Claudia Schulz, Gerhard Dobler, Masyar Monazahian, Stefanie Christine Becker *

Title: A functional ubiquitin-proteasome system is required for efficient replication of New World Mayaro and Una Alphaviruses
Authors: Yessica Y. Llamas-González, Dalkiria Campos, Juan M. Pascale, Juan Arbiza, José González-Santamaría *

 
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