High prevalence and diversity of bovine astroviruses in the faeces of healthy and diarrhoeic calves in South West Scotland

Astroviruses (AstV) are single-stranded, positive-sense RNA viruses and one of the major causes of infant diarrhoea worldwide. Diarrhoea is a common and important cause of morbidity and mortality in calves; therefore, we investigated whether the presence of AstV is associated with calf diarrhoea. We identified diverse AstV lineages from faecal samples of both healthy and diarrhoeic calves and healthy adult cattle in South West Scotland. AstV was common in calves (present in 74% (85/115) of samples) but uncommon in adult cattle (present in 15% (3/20) of samples). No association was found between the presence of AstV and calf diarrhoea or the presence of a specific AstV lineage and calf diarrhoea. AstV was strongly associated with the presence of rotavirus Group A (RVA), and a protective effect of age was evident for both AstV and RVA. Co-infections with multiple AstV lineages were detected in several calves and serial infection with different viruses could also be seen by longitudinal sampling of individuals. In summary, our study found genotypically diverse AstV in the faeces of calves in South West Scotland. However, no association was identified between AstV and calf diarrhoea, which suggests the virus does not play a primary role in the aetiology of calf diarrhoea in the group studied. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

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