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Keywords:

  • Bovine rotaviruses;
  • diarrhoea;
  • molecular genotyping;
  • Tunisia

Abstract

Aims

To investigate the incidence, viral load and genetic diversity of bovine rotaviruses strains in Tunisia.

Methods and Results

A total of 169 faecal specimens, collected from diarrhoeic calves from several farms located in the central eastern regions of Tunisia, between January 2006 and October 2010, were analysed by semi-nested multiplex RT-PCRs for P and G genotypes identification or were genotyped by DNA sequencing. Positive samples were tested by TaqMan real-time RT-PCR to quantify the viral load. Group A bovine rotaviruses were detected in 15·4% (26/169) of the total studied cases of diarrhoea. Overall, G10 was the predominant G type, detected in 12/26 samples (46·2%) and G6 accounted for 42·3% (11/26) while P[11] was the predominant P type, detected in 12/26 samples (46·2%). Two P[5] genotypes (7·7%) were found in the collection. Dual G or P combination and genotype G8 were not found. The most common VP7/VP4 combinations were G6P[11] (30·8%; n = 8) and G10P[11] (11·5%; n = 3). The combination G10P[14] was seen in one sample, and partial typing was assessed in 53·8% (n = 14) of the cases. The viral load determined by real-time RT-PCR showed an average of 1·68 × 109 genome copies/g of faeces.

Conclusion

Knowledge of P and G types could help us understand the relatedness of animal rotaviruses to viruses causing disease in humans.

Significance and Impact of the Study

This is the first time that the viral load and P types of bovine rotaviruses have been determined in Tunisia, and this study contributes to a better understanding of the epidemiology of such viruses circulating in Tunisia. Nevertheless, continuous surveillance is necessary to detect the emergence of new variants.