Scientists Genetically Describe African Canine Kobuviruses

Scientisits Genetically Describe African Canine Kobuviruses

Scientisits Genetically Describe African Canine KobuvirusesKobuvirus is a viral genus often broken down into three categories, one of the most common of which is Aichivirus A – canine kobuvirus. The medical and veterinary fields still have very limited knowledge of the virus, but now new reports are shedding some light on the kaboviruses based in Africa.

A team of scientists from German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) used first-ever reports of kaboviruses in Africa to genetically describe the disease [1]. Turns out that canine kabovirus as well as other groups are must less host-specific than previous research has suggested. The study has been published in the scientific journal Virology.

Study of canine kaboviruses and other groups

Current knowledge of the recently described viral genus Kobuvirus is limited, mentions the press release. In humans and livestock, kobuviruses are known to cause gastroenteritis and hence are important for both health and economic reasons. To date, canine kobuvirus is known to infect domestic dogs in Europe, the USA and Asia.

Before the current study, the only wild carnivore known to be infected with canine kobuvirus was the red fox in Europe, and Kobuvirus infection had not been reported from Africa.

Scientisits Genetycally Describe African Canine Kobuviruses
Side-striped jackal, spotted hyena, golden jackal – in those three canids the canine kobuvirus was found. / Photos: East; Benhaiem; Höner / IZW

A team of researchers from the Tanzanian Wildlife Research Institute, the Ecosystem Alliance (USA) and the IZW investigated Kobuvirus infection in wild carnivores in the Serengeti National Park (NP) in Tanzania, East Africa, and in domestic dogs living in villages outside the park. Using state-of-the-art molecular techniques, the scientists were able to provide the complete Kobuvirus genome from three wild carnivore species, the spotted hyena, the side-striped jackal and golden jackal, and the local domestic dog.

These species were infected with canine kobuvirus strains genetically distinct from those in geographical regions outside Africa. Interestingly, the strains infecting wild carnivores inside the Serengeti NP were genetically distinct from those infecting domestic dogs outside the park, and genetically distinct strains were detected in domestic dogs from different villages.

By demonstrating for the first time canine kobuvirus in a non-canid host, the spotted hyena, the results of the study provide evidence that kobuviruses are less host-specific than previously thought.




  1. Ximena A Olarte-Castillo, Felix Heeger, Camila J Mazzoni, Alex D Greenwood, Robert Fyumagwa, Patricia D Moehlman, Heribert Hofer, Marion L East. Molecular characterization of canine kobuvirus in wild carnivores and the domestic dog in Africa. Virology, 2015; 477: 89 DOI: 10.1016/j.virol.2015.01.010


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