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astrovirus infections

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Datasheet

astrovirus infections

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 20 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • astrovirus infections
  • Pathogens
  • Astrovirus
  • Overview
  • Astroviruses were first discovered in the diarrhoeic faeces of children in 1975, but have since been isolated from many mammals, including cattle, swine, sheep, deer, cats, dogs and mice, as well as in poultry such as turkeys and ducks, and in cap...

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    Compendia
    CAB International
    Wallingford
    Oxfordshire
    OX10 8DE
    UK
    compend@cabi.org
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Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • astrovirus infections

International Common Names

  • English: bovine astrovirus infection; caprine astrovirus infection; diarrhea due to astrovirus infection; duck virus hepatitis type II; enteritis in calves; neonatal diarrhoea; ovine astrovirus infection; porcine acute gastroenteritis; porcine astrovirus infection; viral gastroenteritis

Pathogen/s

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Astrovirus

Overview

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Astroviruses were first discovered in the diarrhoeic faeces of children in 1975, but have since been isolated from many mammals, including cattle, swine, sheep, deer, cats, dogs and mice, as well as in poultry such as turkeys and ducks, and in captive ostriches; the viruses are associated with gastroenteritis in man, cattle, swine, sheep, deer, cats, dogs, mice, and turkeys. The most important clinical implication is as a causal agent of hepatitis in ducks, which causes high mortality; to date, this disease occurs commonly in the UK. Each host species has its own astrovirus, which differ from each other antigenically. Cross-infection and cross-protection do not normally occur. Different serotypes occur within affected host species. The economic importance of the viruses (except in ducks) is difficult to assess because the virus is frequently isolated in conjunction with other pathogens, and frequently without clinical symptoms. Furthermore, in most experimental infections of animals, disease is usually mild or inapparent.

Host Animals

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Animal nameContextLife stageSystem
Anas (ducks)Domesticated hostPoultry: All Stages|Poultry/Young poultry
Bos indicus (zebu)Domesticated hostCattle & Buffaloes: All Stages|Cattle & Buffaloes/Calf
Bos taurus (cattle)Domesticated hostCattle & Buffaloes: All Stages|Cattle & Buffaloes/Calf
Cairina (Muscovy ducks)Domesticated hostPoultry: All Stages|Poultry/Young poultry
Canis familiaris (dogs)Domesticated host
CervidaeDomesticated host, Wild hostOther: All Stages|Other/Juvenile
Felis catus (cat)Domesticated host
Gallus gallus domesticus (chickens)Domesticated host
Homo sapiensWild host
MeleagrisDomesticated hostPoultry: All Stages|Poultry/Young poultry
Mus musculus (house mouse)Domesticated host
Ovis aries (sheep)Domesticated hostSheep & Goats: All Stages|Sheep & Goats/Lamb
StruthioDomesticated host, Wild hostOther: All Stages|Other/Juvenile
Sus scrofa (pigs)Domesticated hostPigs: All Stages|Pigs/Piglet|Pigs/Weaner

Hosts/Species Affected

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Astroviruses occur in many species, but every host species has its own astroviruses; transmission between species is considered insignificant (Kurtz and Lee, 1987). Astroviruses have been detected in cattle, swine, sheep, deer, cats, dogs, mice, and in poultry such as chickens, turkeys, and ducks. Astroviruses from different animal species do not share common antigens, but serotypes from the same species do (Bridger, 1990). Two serotypes have been identified in cattle (Bridger, 1990), and eight have been identified in man (Desselberger, 2000). Astroviruses have also been isolated from ostriches (Shivaprasad et al., 1994).

Systems Affected

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digestive diseases of large ruminants
digestive diseases of pigs
digestive diseases of poultry
digestive diseases of small ruminants

Distribution

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Astroviruses in man occur worldwide (Kurtz and Lee, 1987; Desselberger, 2000), but astroviruses in animals have been identified in only a limited number of countries (Bridger, 1990), although where studied, infections appear to be common. Astroviruses in cattle were first detected in the UK (Woode and Bridger, 1987), and subsequently reported in the USA (Woode et al., 1984, 1985). Astrovirus in pigs has been reported in Japan (Shimizu et al., 1990) and South-Africa (Geyer et al., 1994). Astrovirus in cats has been reported in the UK, USA, Australia, Germany and New Zealand (Rice et al., 1993; Thompson, 1999)

The first large outbreaks of astroviruses in ducks were in East Anglia, UK, during 1963-1968 (Kurtz and Lee, 1987; Gough and Stuart, 1993; McNulty and McFerran, 1996). Disease reappeared in 1983 in the UK, and was still present in 2001.

Astroviruses in turkeys have been found in the UK and the USA (McNulty, 1993).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020

Pathology

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Multiple haemorrhages in the livers of ducks can be observed. The kidneys are swollen, and the spleen is enlarged (Gough and Stuart, 1993). Microscopically, hepatocytes show necrotic cytoplasm. Other organs are normal (Gough and Stuart, 1993).

After experimental infection of turkeys with turkey astrovirus, caeca were distended with fluid and gas, and there was gaseous fluid in the intestinal tract, which also shows loss of muscular tone (Thouvenelle et al., 1995a; McNulty and McFerran, 1996).

Diagnosis

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Direct electron microscopy is the most useful method for detecting astroviruses (Kurtz and Lee, 1987). However, due to the small size of the virions, astroviruses may easily be overlooked, and immune electron microscopy is the preferred method of detection (Reynolds, 1992). New diagnostic tests include RT-PCR, which also enables the classification of new isolates (Cubitt, 1999). An RT-PCR based diagnostic test was also described for turkey astroviruses (Koci et al., 2000).

In ducks, liver homogenates and intestinal content can best be used for microscopy diagnosis (Gough and Stuart, 1993). Recently, an antigen-capture ELISA has been developed (Hayhow and Saif, 1993). Reliable serological diagnosis of duck astrovirus is not available (McNulty and McFerran, 1996).

Differential diagnosis in ducks includes mainly duck hepatitis type I. Differential diagnosis in turkeys includes infectious viral, bacterial, parasitic and non-infectious agents that can cause enteric disease (Reynolds, 1991).

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Other:Not known,Pigs:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Other:Not known,Pigs:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Dehydration Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Other:Not known,Pigs:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Other:Not known,Pigs:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Increased mortality in flocks of birds Poultry:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Poultry:Young poultry Sign
General Signs / Opisthotonus Poultry:All Stages Diagnosis
General Signs / Sudden death, found dead Poultry:All Stages
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Cattle & Buffaloes:All Stages,Other:Not known,Pigs:All Stages,Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
Nervous Signs / Seizures or syncope, convulsions, fits, collapse Poultry:All Stages Diagnosis

Disease Course

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Bovine astroviruses are not pathogenic (Bridger, 1990); astroviruses have been isolated from calves with diarrhoea, but after experimental infection with bovine astrovirus alone no diarrhoea develops, which suggests little or no pathogenicity of astroviruses in cattle (Kurtz and Lee, 1987). Only after concomitant experimental infection of gnotobiotic calves with other viruses such as rotavirus or Breda virus, did scour occur. In contrast, ovine, turkey, and feline astroviruses do produce diarrhoea during experimental infections (Bridger, 1990). Experimental infection of cats causes mild diarrhoea with fever (Kurtz and Lee, 1987; Bridger, 1990; Geyer et al., 1994).

In sheep, the incubation time after experimental infection with ovine astrovirus was about 4 days (Snodgrass et al., 1979), after which yellowish diarrhoea occurred that lasted a few days. Outbreaks of diarrhoea in lambs caused by astroviruses have been recorded to occur naturally (Snodgrass and Gray, 1977). In pigs, deer, dogs, cats and mice, astroviruses have been found to be associated with diarrhoea, but frequently other viruses were also isolated that could equally contribute to the observed clinical symptoms, such as coronaviruses, caliciviruses or rotaviruses. In young turkeys and ostriches, astroviruses have been found to be associated with scours, but likewise other viruses were isolated from the same animals, including adenoviruses, enteroviruses, or group D rotavirus in turkeys (Kurtz and Lee, 1987; Saif et al., 1989, 1990; Bridger, 1990; Reynolds, 1992; McNulty, 1993; Shivaprasad et al., 1994; McNulty and McFerran, 1996). Experimental inoculation of 1-day-old turkey poults with turkey astrovirus produces diarrhoea, reduced weight gain, and reduced absorption of d-xylose (Bridger, 1990; Thouvenelle et al., 1995b).

Astroviruses cause hepatitis type II and are important pathogens in ducks (Kurtz and Lee, 1987; Gough and Stuart, 1993). Disease caused in ducks is similar to hepatitis type I, caused by an enterovirus (Gough and Stuart, 1993). Ducks die within a few hours after appearance of illness, frequently preceded by convulsions and opisthotonus (Gough and Stuart, 1993).

In human astrovirus infections, fever, malaise, and vomiting occurs, followed by diarrhoea, after an incubation period of about 3-4 days (Kurtz and Lee, 1987). The episode of diarrhoea normally lasts 2-3 days and sometimes 14 days, but may last much longer in immunocompromised persons (Kurtz and Lee, 1987).

Epidemiology

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Eleven of 22 cattle herds examined in the UK had antibody to bovine astrovirus and 30% of cattle tested in the USA were positive (Bridger, 1990). In Japan, 50 of 128 randomly sampled adult pig sera reacted positively to a swine astrovirus-specific ELISA, but prevalence between herds varied between zero and 83% (Shimizu et al., 1990).

Astroviruses have been found in 29% of healthy turkey poults, and in 78% of diseased turkey poults in the USA in one study (McNulty, 1993). In another study in the USA, 86% of 43 turkeys aged 6-35 days were astrovirus-positive in flocks with diarrhoea, and in 41% of 22 healthy flocks (Bridger, 1990).

Astroviruses are mainly transmitted horizontally by the faecal-oral route (Kurtz and Lee, 1987). There is no evidence for vertical transmission (Kurtz and Lee, 1987; McNulty, 1993).

Astroviruses are species-specific. Experimental infections of ducks with astroviruses from chickens or turkeys did not cause mortality, wheras subsequent infection of the same animals with duck astrovirus caused hepatitis (Gough and Stuart, 1993). Generally, the prevalence of astroviruses seems to increase with age in most species, but clinical complications seem most severe in young animals after primary infections, alone or in conjunction with other viral enteral pathogens. Infected ducks are refractory to re-infection (McNulty and McFerran, 1996).

In a sample of healthy dogs, 2% were found to harbour astroviruses in their faeces (Bridger, 1990).

Impact: Economic

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Generally, astrovirus infections cause mild or inapparent disease, or gastro-intestinal disorders. The ability of astroviruses to cause disease appears to differ between isolates from different species. As other pathogens are isolated from cases of gastro-enteritis in cattle, the economic impact of astroviruses is difficult to assess.

Astrovirus infection can cause decreased growth (stunting) and diarrhoea due to malabsorption in hatchling turkey poults, with transient maldigestion (Reynolds, 1992; Thouvenelle et al., 1993). Duck astrovirus infections may lead to 50% mortality in ducklings of 1-2 weeks, and up to 25% mortality in ducklings of 3-6 weeks of age (Jordan et al., 1986; McNulty and McFerran, 1996).

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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Astroviruses are species-specific, and animal astroviruses pose no risk for humans; humans are only susceptible to human astroviruses.

Disease Treatment

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There are no chemotherapeutics or other measures reported to be efficacious for control of astrovirus infections in poultry (Reynolds, 1991). Antiviral drugs are not available, although experimentally, certain plant extracts have been shown to demonstrate in vitro antiviral activity against astroviruses (Kudi and Myint, 1999).

Prevention and Control

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Because of their faecal-oral transmission, hygienic measures are the predominant preventive measures against astrovirus infection. These include cleaning, sanitation and provision of resting facilities between flocks (Reynolds, 1992). Disinfectants should be chosen carefully as astroviruses are very resistant to inactivation by many common disinfectants (Schultz-Cherry et al., 2001). Disease in ducks is associated with keeping the animals in the open, and outdoor flocks seem more susceptible to infection, possibly from wild birds (Gough and Stuart, 1993); keeping ducks indoors and preventing contact with wild birds will greatly reduce the chance of being infected (Gough and Stuart, 1993). Attenuated vaccines can successfully protect ducks (Gough and Stuart, 1993).

References

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Aroonprasert D; Fagerland JA; Kelso NE; Zheng S; Woode GN, 1989. Cultivation and partial characterization of bovine astrovirus. Veterinary Microbiology, 19(2):113-125; 32 ref.

Bridger JC, 1990. Small viruses associated with gastroenteritis in animals. Viral diarrheas of man and animals., 161-182; 112 ref.

Cubitt WD, 1999. Historical background and classification of caliciviruses and astroviruses. Archives of Virology [Suppl], 12:225-235.

Desselberger U, 2000. Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. Journal of Infection, 40(1):3-15.

Geyer A; Steele AD; Peenze I; Lecatsas G, 1994. Astrovirus-like particles, adenoviruses and rotaviruses associated with diarrhoea in piglets. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association, 65(4):164-166; 10 ref.

Gough RE; Stuart JC, 1993. Astroviruses in ducks (duck virus hepatitis type II). Virus infections of birds., 505-508; 4 ref.

Hayhow CS; Saif YM, 1993. Development of an antigen-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for detection of enterovirus in commercial turkeys. Avian Diseases, 37(2):375-379; 12 ref.

Jonassen CM; Jonassen TO; Grinde B, 1998. A common RNA motif in the 3 end of the genomes of astroviruses, avian infectious bronchitis virus and an equine rhinovirus. Journal of General Virology, 79(4):715-718; 14 ref.

Jordan PWJ; Jainudeen MR; Mahyuddin M; Huhn JE, 1986. The impact of disease on poultry production. Livestock production and diseases in the tropics. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Livestock Production and Diseases in the Tropics held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 18th-22nd August 1986. pp 262-277.

Koci MD; Seal BS; Schultz-Cherry S, 2000. Development of an RT-PCR diagnostic test for an avian astrovirus. J. Virol. Methods, 90:79-83.

Koci MD; Seal BS; Schultz-Cherry S, 2000. Molecular characterization of an avian astrovirus. Journal of Virology, 74(13):6173-6177.

Kudi AC; Myint SH, 1999. Antiviral activity of some Nigerian medicinal plant extracts. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 68(1/3):289-294; 15 ref.

Kurtz JB; Lee TW, 1987. Astroviruses: human and animal. Novel diarrhoea viruses., 92-107; [Ciba Foundation Symposium 128]; 32 ref.

McNulty MS, 1993. Astrovirus infection of turkeys. Virus infections of birds., 509-511; 7 ref.

McNulty MS; McFerran JB, 1996. Astroviruses. Poultry diseases,, Ed. 4:226-228; 2 ref.

Reynolds D, 1992. Enteric viral infections of young poultry. Poultry Science Reviews, 4(3):197-212; 166 ref.

Reynolds DL, 1991. Astrovirus infections. Diseases of poultry., ed. 9:635-638; 10 ref.

Rice M; Wilks CR; Jones BR; Beck KE; Jones JM, 1993. Detection of astrovirus in the faeces of cats with diarrhoea. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 41(2):96-97; 12 ref.

Saif YM; Saif EJ; Hofacre CL; Hayhow C; Swayne DE; Dearth RN, 1990. A small round virus associated with enteritis in turkey poults. Avian Diseases, 34(3):762-764; 4 ref.

Saif YM; Theil KW; Reynolds DL; Saif LJ, 1989. Enteric viruses of turkeys. Recent advances in turkey science., 235-261; [Poultry Science Symposium Series No.21]; 101 ref.

Schultz-Cherry S; King DJ; Koci MD, 2001. Inactivation of an astrovirus associated with poult enteritis mortality syndrome. Avian Diseases, 45(1):76-82; 36 ref.

Shimizu M; Shirai J; Narita M; Yamane T, 1990. Cytopathic astrovirus isolated from porcine acute gastroenteritis in an established cell line derived from porcine embryonic kidney. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 28(2):201-206; 21 ref.

Shivaprasad HL; Woolcock PR; Chin RP; Meteyer CU; Jeffey JS; Droual R; Castro AE; Nordhausen RW; Barr BC, 1994. Identification of viruses from the intestine of ostriches. Main Conference Proceedings Association of Avian Veterinarians, Reno, Nevada, USA, 28-30, September, 1994., 442-443.

Snodgrass DR; Angus KW; Gray EW; Menzies JD; Paul G, 1979. Pathogenesis of diarrhoea caused by astrovirus infections in lambs. Archives of Virology, 60:217-226.

Snodgrass DR; Gray EW, 1977. Detection and transmission of 30 nm virus particles (astroviruses) in faeces of lambs with diarrhoea. Archives of Virology, 55: 287-291.

Thompson J, 1999. Important infectious diseases of cats in New Zealand. Surveillance (Wellington), 26(2):3-5; 25 ref.

Thouvenelle ML; Haynes JS; Reynolds DL, 1995. Astrovirus infection in hatchling turkeys: histologic, morphometric, and ultrastructural findings. Avian Diseases, 39(2):328-336; 31 ref.

Thouvenelle ML; Haynes JS; Sell JL; Reynolds DL, 1995. Astrovirus infection in hatchling turkeys: alterations in intestinal maltase activity. Avian Diseases, 39(2):343-348; 17 ref.

Thouvenelle ML; Reynolds DL; Haynes JS, 1993. Astrovirus infection in hatching turkeys. Poultry Digest, 52(3):13, 16; 14 ref.

Woode GN; Bridger JR, 1987. Isolation of small viruses resembling astroviruses and caliciviruses from acute enteritis of calves. Journal of Medical Microbiology, 11:441-452.

Woode GN; Gourley NK; Pohlenz JF; Liebler EM; Mathew SL; Hutchinson MP, 1985. Serotype of bovine astrovirus. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 22:668-670.

Woode GN; Pohlenz JF; Gourley NEK; Fagerland JA, 1984. Astrovirus and Breda virus infections of dome cell epithelium of bovine ileum. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 19(5):623-630; 25 ref.

Distribution References

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Geyer A, Steele A D, Peenze I, Lecatsas G, 1994. Astrovirus-like particles, adenoviruses and rotaviruses associated with diarrhoea in piglets. Journal of the South African Veterinary Association. 65 (4), 164-166.

Gough R E, Stuart J C, 1993. Astroviruses in ducks (duck virus hepatitis type II). In: Virus infections of birds. [ed. by McFerran J B, McNulty M S]. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science Publishers. 505-508.

Kurtz J B, Lee T W, 1987. Astroviruses: human and animal. In: Novel diarrhoea viruses. [Novel diarrhoea viruses.], [ed. by Bock G, Whelan J]. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. 92-107.

McNulty M S, 1993. Astrovirus infection of turkeys. In: Virus infections of birds. [ed. by McFerran J B, McNulty M S]. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Science Publishers. 509-511.

McNulty M S, McFerran J B, 1996. Astroviruses. In: Poultry diseases, [ed. by Jordan F T W, Pattison M]. London, UK: W.B. Saunders. 226-228.

Rice M, Wilks C R, Jones B R, Beck K E, Jones J M, 1993. Detection of astrovirus in the faeces of cats with diarrhoea. New Zealand Veterinary Journal. 41 (2), 96-97.

Shimizu M, Shirai J, Narita M, Yamane T, 1990. Cytopathic astrovirus isolated from porcine acute gastroenteritis in an established cell line derived from porcine embryonic kidney. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 28 (2), 201-206.

Thompson J, 1999. Important infectious diseases of cats in New Zealand. Surveillance (Wellington). 26 (2), 3-5.

Woode G N, Pohlenz J F, Gourley N E K, Fagerland J A, 1984. Astrovirus and Breda virus infections of dome cell epithelium of bovine ileum. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 19 (5), 623-630.

Woode GN, Bridger JR, 1987. Isolation of small viruses resembling astroviruses and caliciviruses from acute enteritis of calves. In: Journal of Medical Microbiology, 11 441-452.

Woode GN, Gourley NK, Pohlenz JF, Liebler EM, Mathew SL, Hutchinson MP, 1985. Serotype of bovine astrovirus. In: Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 22 668-670.

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