Hepatitis C Virus in European Cattle

(Human) Hepatitis C virus continues to represent one of the most significant threats to human health.

Although Hepatitis C Virus was discovered more than 20 years ago, its origins remain obscure and, until very recently, (Human) Hepatitis C Virus was considered the only member of the genus hepacivirus (a name concocted from words ‘hepatitis’, ‘c’ and ‘virus’).
Some medical textbooks still mention this outdated information, but novel and closely related viruses have now been discovered in dogs (Canine Hepatitis C Virus)[1], horses (Equine Hepatitis C Virus), bats (GB Virus-B)[2], African Cattle (Bovine Hepatitis C Virus) and some rodents (Murine Hepatitis C Virus)[3]. This indicates a widespread distribution of hepaciviruses among animals.

Recently, yet another a novel species within the genus Hepacivirus was discovered in domestic cattle in northern Germany. Of the 158 investigated cattle herds in Germany 3,2% were positive for bovine hepacivirus[4].

Clinical and postmortem examination revealed no signs of disease, including liver damage.

[1] Kapoor et al: Characterization of a canine homolog of hepatitis C virus in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - 2011
[2] Quan et al: Bats are a major natural reservoir for hepaciviruses and pegiviruses in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - 2013
[3] Drexler et al: Evidence for novel hepaciviruses in rodents in PLoS Pathogens - 2013
[2] Bächlein et al: Identification of a Novel Hepacivirus in Domestic Cattle from Germany in Journal of Virology – 2015

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