Bovine torovirus (BToV) is recognized as an enteric pathogen of calves, but its etiological role in diarrhea and epidemiological characterization in adult cows remain unclear. In 2007-2008, three outbreaks of epidemic diarrhea occurred in adult cows at three dairy farms in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. BToV was the only enteric pathogen detected in these outbreaks, as determined by electron microscopy, reverse transcription-PCR, bacteria and parasite tests of fecal samples, and antibody tests with paired sera. The epidemiological features of the three outbreaks were similar to those of bovine coronavirus infection, except for the absence of bloody diarrhea, with diarrhea spreading among most adult cows, but not in calves, within several days and diarrhea lasting for 3-5 days with anorexia. Decreased milk production and mild respiratory symptoms were also observed in two of the outbreaks. Nucleotide sequence analysis of the BToV nucleocapsid, spike, and hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) genes revealed a close relatedness among the detected BToV strains from each outbreak and those of Japanese BToV strain Aichi/2004. Furthermore, we isolated a BToV strain, designated Niigata (TC), from a fecal sample using a human rectal tumor cell line. Sequence analysis of this isolate and Aichi/2004 indicated that both strains have truncated HE genes with deletions in the 3′ region that occurred through cell culture-adaptation. The short projections that are believed to be formed by the HE protein on virus particles were not observed in these cultured strains by electron microscopy. Taken together, these results suggest that BToV causes epidemic diarrhea in adult cows and should be included in the differential diagnosis of diarrhea in adult cows. In addition, our findings indicate that the HE protein of BToV may not be necessary for viral replication.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2012
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