Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Astrovirus

Synonym(s): Neurotropic encephalitis, Non-suppurative encephalitis, Sporadic encephalitis

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Al Manning

Introduction

Classification

Taxonomy

  • The Astroviridae family contains non-enveloped, positive-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses within two genera:
    • Mamastrovirus: infect mammals.
    • Avastrovirus: infect birds.
  • The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses currently recognizes 19 species (Mamastrovirus-1 through -19), within the Mamastrovirus genus. There are numerous strains awaiting classification, some of which may be new species.

Etymology

  • Astro: from the Greek word for “star”.

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Clinical Effects

Epidemiology

Transmission

  • Thought to be feco-oral.

Pathological effects

  • Clinical signs may include:
    • Progressive neurological signs, including:
      • Unusual behavior.
      • Aimless walking.
      • Circling. 
      • Ataxia.
      • Repetitive and uncoordinated tongue movements.
      • Seizures.
      • Recumbency.
  • Duration of clinical signs may range from 1 day to 3 weeks.

Other Host Effects

  • Histological examination of infected brain may reveal:
    • Moderate to severe, lymphocytic, histiocytic and plasmacytic meningoencephalomyelitis.
    • Perivascular cuffing and lymphoplasmacytic and histiocytic inflammation and neuronal necrosis/neuronophagia with gliosis in the adjacent neuropil.
    • Satellitosis of affected, necrotic neurons.

Control

Control via environment

  • Good biosecurity and hygiene are important given the likelihood of feco-oral transmission.
  • Astroviruses are resistant to many disinfectants and so products should be chosen carefully.

Vaccination

  • None available.

Diagnosis

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Giannitti F et al (2019) The first case of bovine astrovirus-associated encephalitis in the Southern hemisphere (Uruguay), uncovers evidence of viral introduction to the Americas from Europe. Front Microbiol 10, 1240 PubMed.
  • Spinato M T et al (2017) Identification of bovine astrovirus in cases of bovine non-suppurative encephalitis in eastern Canada. Can Vet J 58 (6), 607-609 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • CABI International (2019) Astrovirus Infections. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Website: www.cabi.org.

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