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Non-primate hepacivirus transmission and prevalence: Novel findings of virus circulation in horses and dogs in Morocco

Abstract : Non-primate hepacivirus (NPHV) is a homolog of hepatitis C virus and has been isolated from dogs and horses. Data on NPHV prevalence and distribution are not complete, and there is a particular lack of reports from the African continent. The present study represents the first investigation of NPHV prevalence in horses and dogs in North Africa. Blood was collected from 172 horses and 36 dogs at different locations in Morocco, and screened for NPHV RNA using nested PCR targeting 5’UTR and NS3 regions and analyzed for anti-NPHV NS3 antibody using a Gaussia luciferase immunoprecipitation system—to determine seroprevalence. Eight sequences of the NS3 region isolated from positive serum samples were targeted for phylogenetic analysis. Horses and dogs showed respective NPHV RNA positivity rates of 10.5% and 5.5%, and seroprevalences of 65.7% and 8.33%. Juvenile horses appeared more susceptible to infection, with a 23.5% NHPV RNA positivity rate. Seropositivity was more extensive in mares than stallions (77.14% vs. 46.27%, p < 0.0001). Phylogenetically, that NPHV NS3 genes isolated from horses and dog are clustered together. The NPHV strains we detected showed no correlation with geographic location within Morocco. In conclusion, Moroccan horses showed much evidence of previous and/or current NPHV infection, with young age and female sex as noted potential risk factors. Interestingly, NPHV is circulating in dogs as well as horses, suggesting that it has crossed species barriers and that horses and dogs are potential vectors by which an ancestor to hepatitis C virus was transmitted into human populations.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 12:19:46 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 2:03:16 PM

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Islam Abbadi, Mustapha Lkhider, Bouchra Kitab, Khalid Jabboua, Imane Zaidane, et al.. Non-primate hepacivirus transmission and prevalence: Novel findings of virus circulation in horses and dogs in Morocco. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, Elsevier, 2021, 93, pp.104975. ⟨10.1016/j.meegid.2021.104975⟩. ⟨pasteur-03707139⟩

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