Rodent Pegivirus

Recenty several new hepaciviruses (HCV-like viruses) and pegiviruses were reported that infect wild rodents[1]. Complete genome sequences were acquired for a rodent hepacivirus (RHV) found in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) and a rodent pegivirus (RPgV) found in white-throated woodrats (Neotoma albigula).

The white-throated woodrat is endemic in parts of Mexico and the western United Stated, while the deer mouse is also an inhabitant of the USA. Like other Peromyscus species, the deer mouse is a known vector and carrier of emerging infectious diseases, such as hantaviruses, Lyme disease and Sin Nombre Virus[2].
[Deer mouse]
Unique genomic features and phylogenetic analyses confirmed that these RHV and RPgV variants represent several novel virus species in the Hepacivirus and Pegivirus genera within the family Flaviviridae.

Brown or Norvegian rats (Rattus norvegicus), trapped in New York City during a one-year period (2013), were infected with numerous species of bacteria and viruses. One of these viruses was a previously unknown Pegivirus, tentatively named as Norvegian rat Pegivirus (or NrPGV)[3].

The genetic diversity of the rodent hepaciviruses exceeded that observed for hepaciviruses infecting either humans or non-primates, leading to new insights into the origin, evolution, and host range of hepaciviruses.

[1] Kapoor et al: Identification of rodent homologs of hepatitis C virus and pegiviruses in mBio - 2013
[2] Netski et al: Sin Nombre Virus Pathogenenis in Peromyscus maniculatus in Journal of Virology - 1999
[3] Firth et al: Detection of zoonotic pathogens and characterization of novel viruses carried by commensal Rattus norvegicus in New York City in MBio - 2014. See here.

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