• A novel herpesvirus of the proposed genus chelonivirus from an asymptomatic bowsprit tortoise (Chersina angulata)

      Bicknese, Elizabeth; Childress, April L.; Wellehan, James F. X.; (2010)
      A wild-caught Bowsprit tortoise (Chersina angulata) was received into quarantine and appeared clinically normal. Oral swabs for consensus herpesvirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing were obtained during routine quarantine, and a novel herpesvirus was identified....
    • Broad host range of SARS-CoV-2 predicted by comparative and structural analysis of ACE2 in vertebrates

      Damas, Joana; Hughes, Graham M.; Keough, Kathleen C.; Painter, Corrie A.; Persky, Nicole S.; Corbo, Marco; Hiller, Michael; Koepfli, Klaus-Peter; Pfenning, Andreas R.; Zhao, Huabin; et al. (2020)
      The novel coronavirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of COVID-19. The main receptor of SARS-CoV-2, angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), is now undergoing extensive scrutiny to understand the routes of transmission and sensitivity in different species. Here, we utilized a unique dataset of ACE2 sequences from 410 vertebrate species, including 252 mammals, to study the conservation of ACE2 and its potential to be used as a receptor by SARS-CoV-2. We designed a five-category binding score based on the conservation properties of 25 amino acids important for the binding between ACE2 and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Only mammals fell into the medium to very high categories and only catarrhine primates into the very high category, suggesting that they are at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection. We employed a protein structural analysis to qualitatively assess whether amino acid changes at variable residues would be likely to disrupt ACE2/SARS-CoV-2 spike protein binding and found the number of predicted unfavorable changes significantly correlated with the binding score. Extending this analysis to human population data, we found only rare (frequency <0.001) variants in 10/25 binding sites. In addition, we found significant signals of selection and accelerated evolution in the ACE2 coding sequence across all mammals, and specific to the bat lineage. Our results, if confirmed by additional experimental data, may lead to the identification of intermediate host species for SARS-CoV-2, guide the selection of animal models of COVID-19, and assist the conservation of animals both in native habitats and in human care.
    • Clinical infection of captive Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) with elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus 4

      Fuery, Angela; Browning, Geoffrey R.; Tan, Jie; Long, Simon; Hayward, Gary S.; Cox, Sherry K.; Flanagan, Joseph P.; Tocidlowski, Maryanne E.; Howard, Lauren L.; Ling, Paul D. (2016)
      Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) can cause lethal hemorrhagic disease in juvenile Asian elephants…. In this brief communication, two cases of EEHV4 infection in juvenile elephants at the Houston Zoo are described, where both cases were resolved following intensive treatment and administration of famciclovir….
    • Comparison of beak and feather disease virus prevalence and immunity-associated genetic diversity over time in an island population of red-crowned parakeets

      Knafler, Gabrielle J.; Ortiz-Catedral, Luis; Jackson, Bethany; Varsani, Arvind; Grueber, Catherine E.; Robertson, Bruce C.; Jamieson, Ian G. (2016)
      …Beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) was detected for the first time in an island population of red-crowned parakeets (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae) in 2008 on Little Barrier Island (Hauturu-o-Toi) of New Zealand. By 2013, the prevalence of the viral infection had significantly decreased within the population….
    • Development of a case definition for clinical feline herpesvirus infection in cheetahs (acinonyx jubatus) housed in zoos

      Witte, Carmel L.; Lamberski, Nadine; Rideout, Bruce; Fields, Victoria; Teare, Cyd Shields; Barrie, Michael; Haefele, Holly; Junge, Randall; Murray, Suzan; Hungerford, Laura L. (2013)
      The identification of feline herpesvirus (FHV) infected cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) and characterization of shedding episodes is difficult due to nonspecific clinical signs and limitations of diagnostic tests. The goals of this study were to develop a case definition for clinical FHV and describe the distribution of signs. Medical records from six different zoologic institutions were reviewed to identify cheetahs with diagnostic test results confirming FHV….
    • Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus

      Howard, Lauren L.; Schaftenaar, Willem (ElsevierSt. Louis, MO, 2019)
    • Epidemiology of clinical feline herpesvirus infection in zoo-housed cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)

      Witte, Carmel L.; Lamberski, Nadine; Rideout, Bruce; Vaida, Florin; Citino, Scott B.; Barrie, Michael T.; Haefele, Holly J.; Junge, Randall E.; Murray, Suzan; Hungerford, Laura L. (2017)
      OBJECTIVE To determine the incidence of and risk factors for clinical feline herpesvirus (FHV) infection in zoo-housed cheetahs and determine whether dam infection was associated with offspring infection. DESIGN Retrospective cohort study....
    • Evaluation of antibody response to vaccination against West Nile virus in thick billed parrots (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha)

      Glavis, Jennifer; Larsen, R. Scott; Lamberski, Nadine; Gaffney, Patricia M.; Gardner, Ian (2011)
      West Nile virus (WNV) was first documented in North America in New York City in 1999. Several deaths attributable to WNV have been reported in captive thick-billed parrots (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha), an endangered psittacine native to North America. The serologic responses in 12 captive adult thick-billed parrots after a series of three initial WNV vaccine injections with annual boosters over 6 yr was evaluated....
    • Fecal viral diversity of captive and wild Tasmanian devils characterized using virion-enriched metagenomics and meta-transcriptomics

      Chong, Rowena; Shi, Mang; Grueber, Catherine E.; Holmes, Edward C.; Hogg, Carolyn J.; Belov, Katherine; Barrs, Vanessa R. (2019)
      The Tasmanian devil is an endangered carnivorous marsupial threatened by devil facial tumour disease (DFTD). While research on DFTD has been extensive, little is known about viruses in devils, and whether any are of potential conservation relevance for this endangered species. Using both metagenomics based on virion enrichment and sequence-independent amplification (virion-enriched metagenomics) and meta-transcriptomics based on bulk RNA sequencing, we characterized and compared the fecal viromes of captive and wild devils. A total of 54 fecal samples collected from 2 captive and 4 wild populations were processed for virome characterization using both approaches. In total, 24 novel marsupial-related viruses, comprising a sapelovirus, astroviruses, rotaviruses, picobirnaviruses, parvoviruses, papillomaviruses, polyomaviruses and a gammaherpesvirus were identified, as well as known mammalian pathogens such as rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus 2. Captive devils showed significantly lower viral diversity than wild devils. Comparison of the two virus discovery approaches revealed substantial differences in the number and types of viruses detected, with meta-transcriptomics better suited for RNA viruses and virion-enriched metagenomics largely identifying more DNA viruses. Thus, the viral communities revealed by virion-enriched metagenomics and meta-transcriptomics were not interchangeable and neither approach was able to detect all viruses present. An integrated approach using both virion-enriched metagenomics and meta-transcriptomics constitutes a powerful tool for obtaining a complete overview of both the taxonomic and functional profiles of viral communities within a sample. Importance: The Tasmanian devil is an iconic Australian marsupial that has suffered an 80% population decline due to a contagious cancer, devil facial tumour disease, along with other threats. Until now, viral discovery in this species has been confined to one gammaherpesvirus (DaHV-2), for which captivity was identified as a significant risk factor. Our discovery of 24 novel marsupial-associated RNA and DNA viruses, and that viral diversity is lower in captive than wild devils, has greatly expanded our knowledge of gut-associated viruses in devils and provides important baseline information that will contribute to the conservation and captive management of this endangered species. Our results also revealed that a combination of virion-enriched metagenomics and meta-transcriptomics may be a more comprehensive approach for virome characterization than either method alone. Our results thus provide a springboard for continuous improvements in the way we study complex viral communities.
    • Herpesvirus surveillance and discovery in zoo-housed ruminants

      Partin, Teagen G.; Schrenzel, Mark D.; Braun, Josephine; Witte, Carmel L.; Kubiski, Steven V.; Lee, Justin; Rideout, Bruce (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2021)
      Gammaherpesvirus infections are ubiquitous in captive and free-ranging ruminants and are associated with a variety of clinical diseases ranging from subclinical or mild inflammatory syndromes to fatal diseases such as malignant catarrhal fever. Gammaherpesvirus infections have been fully characterized in only a few ruminant species, and the overall diversity, host range, and biologic effects of most are not known. This study investigated the presence and host distribution of gammaherpesviruses in ruminant species at two facilities, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We tested antemortem (blood, nasal or oropharyngeal swabs) or postmortem (internal organs) samples from 715 healthy or diseased ruminants representing 96 species and subspecies, using a consensus-based herpesvirus PCR for a segment of the DNA polymerase (DPOL) gene. Among the 715 animals tested, 161 (22.5%) were PCR and sequencing positive for herpesvirus, while only 11 (6.83%) of the PCR positive animals showed clinical signs of malignant catarrhal fever. Forty-four DPOL genotypes were identified of which only 10 have been reported in GenBank. The data describe viral diversity within species and individuals, identify host ranges of potential new viruses, and address the proclivity and consequences of interspecies transmission during management practices in zoological parks. The discovery of new viruses with wide host ranges and presence of co-infection within individual animals also suggest that the evolutionary processes influencing Gammaherpesvirus diversity are more complex than previously recognized.
    • Initial sequence characterization of the rhabdoviruses of squamate reptiles including a novel rhabdovirus from a caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis)

      Wellehan, J.F.X.; Pessier, Allan P.; Archer, L.; Childress, A.; Jacobson, E.R.; Tesh, R.B. (2012)
      Rhabdoviruses infect a variety of hosts, including non-avian reptiles. Consensus PCR techniques were used to obtain partial RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene sequence from five rhabdoviruses of South American lizards; Marco, Chaco, Timbo, Sena Madureira, and a rhabdovirus from a caiman lizard (Dracaena guianensis….
    • Noninvasive sampling for detection of elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus and genomic DNA in Asian (Elephas maximus) and African (Loxodonta africana) elephants

      Jeffrey, Alison; Evans, Tierra Smiley; Molter, Christine M.; Howard, Lauren L.; Ling, Paul; Goldstein, Tracey; Gilardi, Kirsten (2020)
      Elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus (EEHV) hemorrhagic disease (EEHV-HD) threatens Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population sustainability in North America…. To evaluate noninvasive sample collection options, paired invasively collected (blood, trunk wash and oral swabs), and noninvasively collected (chewed plant and fecal) samples were compared over 6 wk from 9 Asian elephants and 12 African elephants….
    • Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus in 3 wildlife species, San Diego, California, USA

      Schrenzel, Mark D.; Tucker, Tammy A.; Stalis, Ilse H.; Kagan, Rebecca A.; Burns, Russell P.; Denison, Amy M.; Drew, Clifton P.; Paddock, Christopher D.; Rideout, Bruce (2011)
      The influenza A pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus rapidly created a global pandemic among humans and also appears to have strong infectivity for a broad range of animal species (1–3). The virus has been found repeatedly in swine and has been detected in a dog, cats, turkeys, and domestic ferrets and in nondomestic animals, including skunks, cheetahs, and giant anteaters (2–4). In some cases, animal-to-animal transmission may have occurred, raising concern about the development of new wildlife reservoirs. In 2009, the first recognized occurrence of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in southern California in April was followed by a surge of cases during October through November (4). During this time, respiratory illness developed in a 12-year-old male American badger (Taxidea taxus taxus), a 19-year-old female Bornean binturong (Arctictis binturong penicillatus), and a 7-year-old black-footed ferret (Mustela nigripes) housed in a San Diego zoological garden....
    • The evolution of two homologues of the core protein VP6 of epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), which correspond to the geographical origin of the virus

      Anthony, S. J.; Darpel, K. E.; Maan, S.; Sutton, G.; Attoui, H.; Mertens, P. P. C.; (2010)
      Epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus is a 10-segmented, double-stranded RNA virus. When these ten segments of dsRNA are run on 1% agarose, eastern (Australia, Japan) and western (North America, Africa, Middle-East) strains of the virus can be separated phenotypically based on the migration of genome segments 7–9....
    • The first reptilian circovirus identified infects gut and liver tissues of black-headed pythons

      Altan, Eda; Kubiski, Steven V.; Burchell, Jennifer; Bicknese, Elizabeth; Deng, Xutao; Delwart, Eric (2019)
      Viral metagenomic analysis of the liver of a black headed python (Aspidites melanocephalus) euthanized for a proliferative spinal lesion of unknown etiology yielded the first characterized genome of a reptile-infecting circovirus (black-headed python circovirus or BhPyCV). BhPyCV-specific in situ hybridization (ISH) showed that viral nucleic acids were strongly expressed in the intestinal lining and mucosa and multifocally in the liver. To investigate the presence of this virus in other snakes and its possible pathogenicity, 17 snakes in the python family with spinal disease were screened with ISH yielding a second BhP positive in intestinal tissue, and a Boelen’s python (Morelia boeleni) positive in the liver. BhPyCV specific PCR was used to screen available frozen tissues from 13 of these pythons, four additional deceased pythons with and without spinal disease, and fecal samples from 37 live snakes of multiple species with unknown disease status. PCR detected multiple positive tissues in both of the ISH positive BhP and in the feces of another two live BhP and two live annulated tree boas (Corallus annulatus). Preliminary analysis indicates this circovirus can infect BhPs where it was found in 4/5 BhPs tested (2/2 with spinal disease, 2/3 live with unknown status), Boelen’s python (1/2 with spinal disease), and annulated tree boa (2/6 live with unknown status) but was not detected in other python species with the same spinal lesions. This circovirus’ causal or contributory role in spinal disease remains speculative and not well supported by these initial data.