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1.  Novel Circovirus from Mink, China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2014;20(9):1548-1550.
A long-established epidemic of enteritis, caused by an unidentified pathogen distinct from parvovirus, has now been recognized in mink. In 2013, we identified a novel circovirus by degenerate PCR and fully sequenced its genome. This virus differs substantially from currently known members of the genus Circovirus and represents a new species.
PMCID: PMC4178405  PMID: 25148585
Circovirus; mink; diarrhea; China; viruses
2.  Expression of Intracellular Interferon-Alpha Confers Antiviral Properties in Transfected Bovine Fetal Fibroblasts and Does Not Affect the Full Development of SCNT Embryos 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e94444.
Foot-and-mouth disease, one of the most significant diseases of dairy herds, has substantial effects on farm economics, and currently, disease control measures are limited. In this study, we constructed a vector with a human interferon-α (hIFN-α) (without secretory signal sequence) gene cassette containing the immediate early promoter of human cytomegalovirus. Stably transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts were obtained by G418 selection, and hIFN-α transgenic embryos were produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Forty-six transgenic embryos were transplanted into surrogate cows, and five cows (10.9%) became pregnant. Two male cloned calves were born. Expression of hIFN-α was detected in transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts, transgenic SCNT embryos, and different tissues from a transgenic SCNT calf at two days old. In transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts, expression of intracellular IFN-α induced resistance to vesicular stomatitis virus infection, increased apoptosis, and induced the expression of double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase gene (PKR) and the 2′-5′-oligoadenylate synthetase gene (2′-5′ OAS), which are IFN-inducible genes with antiviral activity. Analysis by qRT-PCR showed that the mRNA expression levels of PKR, 2′-5′ OAS, and P53 were significantly increased in wild-type bovine fetal fibroblasts stimulated with extracellular recombinant human IFN-α-2b, showing that intracellular IFN-α induces biological functions similar to extracellular IFN-α. In conclusion, expression of intracellular hIFN-α conferred antiviral properties in transfected bovine fetal fibroblasts and did not significantly affect the full development of SCNT embryos. Thus, IFN-α transgenic technology may provide a revolutionary way to achieve elite breeding of livestock.
PMCID: PMC4086716  PMID: 25004008
3.  Evaluation of Rabies Biologics against Irkut Virus Isolated in China 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2013;51(11):3499-3504.
An Irkut virus (IRKV) was recently isolated from a bat in China. The protective ability of rabies biologics available in the Chinese market and experimental biologics against the rabies virus (RABV) and IRKV were assessed in a hamster model via preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) experiments. The results demonstrated that a single dose of rabies vaccine did not induce adequate protection against IRKV infection. However, routine PrEP with three doses of vaccine induced complete protection against IRKV infection. Higher doses of RABV immunoglobulins and alpha interferon were required during PEP to protect hamsters against IRKV versus RABV infection. Experimental recombinant vaccines containing IRKV glycoproteins induced more-reliable protection against IRKV than against RABV infection. Those findings may be explained by limited cross-neutralization of these viruses (confirmed via in vitro tests) in conjunction with antigenic distances between RABV and IRKV. These results indicate that the development and evaluation of new biologics for PrEP and PEP are required to ensure sufficient protection against IRKV infection in China and other territories where this virus is present.
PMCID: PMC3889725  PMID: 23946522
4.  Early Diagnosis of Irkut Virus Infection Using Magnetic Bead-Based Serum Peptide Profiling by MALDI-TOF MS in a Mouse Model 
Early diagnosis is important for the prompt post-exposure prophylaxis of lyssavirus infections. To diagnose Irkut virus (IRKV) infection during incubation in mice, a novel method using magnetic bead-based serum peptide profiling by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has been established. For this test, serum peptides were concentrated by adsorption to and elution from the magnetic bead-based weak cation ion exchanger. Mass spectrograms obtained by MALDI-TOF MS were analyzed using ClinProTools bioinformatics software. Construction of the diagnostic model was performed using serum samples from mice infected with IRKV and rabies virus (RABV) BD06, Flury-LEP, and SRV9 (as controls). The method accurately diagnosed sera 2, 4 and 8 days after IRKV and RABV infections. The sensitivity, specificity, and total accuracy of diagnosis were 86.7%, 95.2%, and 92.9%, respectively. However, IRKV could not be differentiated from RABV 1 day after infection. The results of the present study indicate that serum peptide profiling by MALDI-TOF MS is a promising technique for the early clinical diagnosis of lyssavirus infections and needs to be further tested in humans and farm animals.
PMCID: PMC4013557  PMID: 24670473
lyssavirus; Irkut virus; rabies; early diagnosis; serum peptide profiling
5.  Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome, Shandong Province, China, 2011 
Supportive therapy is recommended before laboratory confirmation of this disease.
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease in China. The incidence and clinical and laboratory characteristics of SFTS are not clearly defined. During May 22–October 2, 2011, a total of 24 patients with fever, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia were clinically diagnosed as having SFTS in Yiyuan County, Shandong Province, China. We conducted laboratory tests for these SFTS patients. SFTS virus (SFTSV) infection was confirmed in 22 patients by using reverse transcription PCR and ELISA by acute-phase and convalescent-phase serum samples. Clinical and laboratory manifestations included fever (100%), gastrointestinal symptoms (91%), myalgia (55%), chills (41%), thrombocytopenia (100%), and leukopenia (95%).
PMCID: PMC3884705  PMID: 24378074
severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome; SFTS; severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus; SFTSV; viruses; bunyavirus; epidemiology; clinical characteristics; laboratory characteristics; Shandong Province; China
6.  Novel Orthoreovirus from Mink, China, 2011 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2013;19(12):1985-1988.
We identified a novel mink orthoreovirus, MRV1HB-A, which seems to be closely related to human strain MRV2tou05, which was isolated from 2 children with acute necrotizing encephalopathy in 2005. Evolution of this virus should be closely monitored so that prevention and control measures can be taken should it become more virulent.
PMCID: PMC3840883  PMID: 24274037
Orthoreovirus; mink; diarrhea; reassortment; reovirus; swine; human; China
7.  Complete Genome Sequence of a Rabies Virus Isolate from a Ferret Badger (Melogale moschata) in Jiangxi, China 
Genome Announcements  2013;1(3):e00192-13.
The genome of ferret badger rabies virus JX09-17(fb), isolated in Jiangxi Province, China, in 2009 has been completely sequenced. The genomic length is 11, 923 nucleotides (nt) with an overall organization similar to that of other rabies virus isolates. JX09-17(fb) is closely related to Chinese epidemic canine isolates in clade I.
PMCID: PMC3707570  PMID: 23766399
8.  Isolation of Irkut Virus from a Murina leucogaster Bat in China 
Background and objectives
Bats are recognized as a major reservoir of lyssaviruses; however, no bat lyssavirus has been isolated in Asia except for Aravan and Khujand virus in Central Asia. All Chinese lyssavirus isolates in previous reports have been of species rabies virus, mainly from dogs. Following at least two recent bat-associated human rabies-like cases in northeast China, we have initiated a study of the prevalence of lyssaviruses in bats in Jilin province and their public health implications. A bat lyssavirus has been isolated and its pathogenicity in mice and genomic alignment have been determined.
We report the first isolation of a bat lyssavirus in China, from the brain of a northeastern bat, Murina leucogaster. Its nucleoprotein gene shared 92.4%/98.9% (nucleotide) and 92.2%/98.8% (amino acid) identity with the two known Irkut virus isolates from Russia, and was designated IRKV-THChina12. Following intracranial and intramuscular injection, IRKV-THChina12 produced rabies-like symptoms in adult mice with a short inoculation period and high mortality. Nucleotide sequence analysis showed that IRKV-THChina12 has the same genomic organization as other lyssaviruses and its isolation provides an independent origin for the species IRKV.
We have identified the existence of a bat lyssavirus in a common Chinese bat species. Its high pathogenicity in adult mice suggests that public warnings and medical education regarding bat bites in China should be increased, and that surveillance be extended to provide a better understanding of Irkut virus ecology and its significance for public health.
Author Summary
The Lyssavirus genus presently comprises 12 species and two unapproved species with different antigenic characteristics. Rabies virus is detectable worldwide; Lagos bat virus, Mokola virus, Duvenhage virus, Shimoni bat virus, and Ikoma lyssavirus circulate in Africa; European bat lyssavirus types 1 and 2, Irkut virus, West Caucasian bat virus, and Bokeloh bat lyssavirus are found in Europe; and Australian bat lyssavirus has been isolated in Australia. Only Aravan and Khujand viruses have been identified in central Asia. Bats are recognized as the most important reservoirs of lyssaviruses. In China, all lyssavirus isolates in previous reports have been rabies virus, mainly from dogs; none has been from bats. Recently, however, at least two bat-associated human rabies or rabies-like cases have been reported in northeast China. Therefore, we conducted a search for bat lyssaviruses in Jilin province, close to where the first bat-associated human rabies case was recorded. We isolated a bat lyssavirus, identified as an Irkut virus isolate with high pathogenicity in experimental mice. Our findings suggest that public warnings and medical education regarding bat bites in China should be increased, and that surveillance should be extended to provide a better understanding of Irkut virus ecology and its significance for public health.
PMCID: PMC3591329  PMID: 23505588
9.  Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome Virus, Shandong Province, China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2012;18(6):963-965.
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, which results in severe illness and has a high case-fatality rate, is caused by a novel bunyavirus, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus. We found that samples from 2/237 (0.8%) healthy persons and 111/134 (83%) goats in Yiyuan County, Shandong Province, China, were seropositive for this virus.
PMCID: PMC3358154  PMID: 22608264
Fever; thrombocytopenia; SFTS virus; tick; goat; seroprevalence; Shandong; China; viruses; severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus; Suggested citation for this article: Zhao L; Zhai S; Wen H; Cui F; Chi Y; Wang L; et al. Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus; Shandong Province; China. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the internet]. 2012 June [date cited].
10.  Canine Distemper Outbreak in Rhesus Monkeys, China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2011;17(8):1541-1543.
Since 2006, canine distemper outbreaks have occurred in rhesus monkeys at a breeding farm in Guangxi, People’s Republic of China. Approximately 10,000 animals were infected (25%–60% disease incidence); 5%–30% of infected animals died. The epidemic was controlled by vaccination. Amino acid sequence analysis of the virus indicated a unique strain.
PMCID: PMC3381540  PMID: 21801646
canine distemper; canine distemper virus; rhesus monkeys; epidemic; measles-like infection; viruses; People’s Republic of China; dispatch
11.  Evolutionary History of Rabies in Ghana 
Rabies virus (RABV) is enzootic throughout Africa, with the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) being the principal vector. Dog rabies is estimated to cause 24,000 human deaths per year in Africa, however, this estimate is still considered to be conservative. Two sub-Saharan African RABV lineages have been detected in West Africa. Lineage 2 is present throughout West Africa, whereas Africa 1a dominates in northern and eastern Africa, but has been detected in Nigeria and Gabon, and Africa 1b was previously absent from West Africa. We confirmed the presence of RABV in a cohort of 76 brain samples obtained from rabid animals in Ghana collected over an eighteen-month period (2007–2009). Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences obtained confirmed all viruses to be RABV, belonging to lineages previously detected in sub-Saharan Africa. However, unlike earlier reported studies that suggested a single lineage (Africa 2) circulates in West Africa, we identified viruses belonging to the Africa 2 lineage and both Africa 1 (a and b) sub-lineages. Phylogeographic Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo analysis of a 405 bp fragment of the RABV nucleoprotein gene from the 76 new sequences derived from Ghanaian animals suggest that within the Africa 2 lineage three clades co-circulate with their origins in other West African countries. Africa 1a is probably a western extension of a clade circulating in central Africa and the Africa 1b virus a probable recent introduction from eastern Africa. We also developed and tested a novel reverse-transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay for the detection of RABV in African laboratories. This RT-LAMP was shown to detect both Africa 1 and 2 viruses, including its adaptation to a lateral flow device format for product visualization. These data suggest that RABV epidemiology is more complex than previously thought in West Africa and that there have been repeated introductions of RABV into Ghana. This analysis highlights the potential problems of individual developing nations implementing rabies control programmes in the absence of a regional programme.
Author Summary
Rabies virus (RABV) is widespread throughout Africa, with the domestic dog being the principal vector. Dog rabies is estimated to cause 24,000 human deaths per year in Africa, however, this estimate is still considered to be conservative. Two sub-Saharan African RABV lineages (Africa 1 and 2) are thought to circulate in western and central Africa. We confirmed the presence of RABV in a cohort of 76 brain samples obtained from rabid animals in Ghana collected from 2007 to 2009. In addition we developed and tested a novel molecular diagnostic assay for the detection of RABV, which offers an alternative RABV diagnostic tool for African laboratories. Our analysis of the genetic sequences obtained confirmed all viruses to be RABV, however, unlike previous studies we detected two sub-Saharan African RABV viruses (Africa 1 and 2) in this cohort, which included a single virus previously undetected in West Africa. We suggest that there has been repeated introduction of new RABVs into Ghana over a prolonged period from other West African countries and more recently from eastern Africa. These observations further highlight the problems of individual developing nations implementing rabies control programmes at a local, rather than regional level.
PMCID: PMC3071360  PMID: 21483707
12.  Ferret badger rabies origin and its revisited importance as potential source of rabies transmission in Southeast China 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:234.
The frequent occurrence of ferret badger-associated human rabies cases in southeast China highlights the lack of laboratory-based surveillance and urges revisiting the potential importance of this animal in rabies transmission. To determine if the ferret badgers actually contribute to human and dog rabies cases, and the possible origin of the ferret badger-associated rabies in the region, an active rabies survey was conducted to determine the frequency of rabies infection and seroprevalence in dogs and ferret badgers.
A retrospective survey on rabies epidemics was performed in Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces in southeast China. The brain tissues from ferret badgers and dogs were assayed by fluorescent antibody test. Rabies virus was isolated and sequenced for phylogenetic analysis. The sera from ferret badgers and dogs were titrated using rabies virus neutralizing antibodies (VNA) test.
The ferret badgers presented a higher percentage of rabies seroconversion than dogs did in the endemic region, reaching a maximum of 95% in the collected samples. Nine ferret badger-associated rabies viruses were isolated, sequenced, and were phylogenetically clustered as a separate group. Nucleotide sequence revealed 99.4-99.8% homology within the ferret badger isolates, and 83-89% homology to the dog isolates in the nucleoprotein and glycoprotein genes in the same rabies endemic regions.
Our data suggest ferret badger-associated rabies has likely formed as an independent enzootic originating from dogs during the long-term rabies infestation in southeast China. The eventual role of FB rabies in public health remains unclear. However, management of ferret badger bites, rabies awareness and control in the related regions should be an immediate need.
PMCID: PMC2927599  PMID: 20691095
13.  Rabies in Ferret Badgers, Southeastern China 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2009;15(6):946-949.
Ferret badger–associated human rabies cases emerged in China in 1994. We used a retrospective epidemiologic survey, virus isolation, laboratory diagnosis, and nucleotide sequencing to document its reemergence in 2002–2008. Whether the cause is spillover from infected dogs or recent host shift and new reservoir establishment requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2727325  PMID: 19523299
Rabies; ferret badgers; rabies virus; retrospective epidemiological surveillance; spillover; viruses; China; dispatch

Results 1-13 (13)