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Evidence for natural Borna disease virus infection in healthy domestic animals in three areas of western China

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Abstract

Borna disease virus (BDV) is a non-cytolytic, neurotropic RNA virus that can infect many vertebrate species, including humans. To date, BDV infection has been reported in a range of animal species across a broad global geographic distribution. However, a systematic epidemiological survey of BDV infection in domesticated animals in China has yet to be performed. In current study, BDV RNA and antibodies in 2353 blood samples from apparently healthy animals of eight species (horse, donkey, dog, pig, rabbit, cattle, goat, sheep) from three areas in western China (Xinjiang province, Chongqing municipality, and Ningxia province) were assayed using reverse transcription qPCR (RT-qPCR) and ELISA assay. Brain tissue samples from a portion of the BDV RNA- and/or antibody-positive animals were subjected to RT-qPCR and western blotting. As a result, varying prevalence of BDV antibodies and/or RNA was demonstrated in various animal species from three areas, ranging from 4.4 % to 20.0 %. Detection of BDV RNA and/or antibodies in Chongqing pigs (9.2 %) provided the first known evidence of BDV infection in this species. Not all brain tissue samples from animals whose blood was BDV RNA and/or antibody positive contained BDV RNA and protein. This study provides evidence that BDV infection among healthy domestic animal species is more widespread in western China than previously believed.

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Acknowledgments

We sincerely thank Professor Hanns Ludwig, AG Bornavirus Infections at the Free University of Berlin, Germany, for providing the BDV strain V and thoroughly revising the virology and proofreading the manuscript. We are particularly grateful to Dr. Liv Bode, Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany, for many helpful comments. We thank Dr. N. D. Melgiri for his assistance in editing and proofreading the manuscript. This work was financially supported both by the National High-Tech Research and Development Plan of China (863 Program) (Grant No. 2006AA02Z196) and the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (Grant No. 2009CB918300).

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Peng Xie.

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L. Zhang, X. Wang, Q. Zhan contributed equally to this work.

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Zhang, L., Wang, X., Zhan, Q. et al. Evidence for natural Borna disease virus infection in healthy domestic animals in three areas of western China. Arch Virol 159, 1941–1949 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00705-013-1971-5

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