Non-Human Primates Harbor Diverse Mammalian and Avian Astroviruses Including Those Associated with Human Infections.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


PLoS pathogens, Volume 11, Issue 11, p.e1005225 (2015)


Astroviruses (AstVs) are positive sense, single-stranded RNA viruses transmitted to a wide range of hosts via the fecal-oral route. The number of AstV-infected animal hosts has rapidly expanded in recent years with many more likely to be discovered because of the advances in viral surveillance and next generation sequencing. Yet no study to date has identified human AstV genotypes in animals, although diverse AstV genotypes similar to animal-origin viruses have been found in children with diarrhea and in one instance of encephalitis. Here we provide important new evidence that non-human primates (NHP) can harbor a wide variety of mammalian and avian AstV genotypes, including those only associated with human infection. Serological analyses confirmed that >25% of the NHP tested had antibodies to human AstVs. Further, we identified a recombinant AstV with parental relationships to known human AstVs. Phylogenetic analysis suggests AstVs in NHP are on average evolutionarily much closer to AstVs from other animals than are AstVs from bats, a frequently proposed reservoir. Our studies not only demonstrate that human astroviruses can be detected in NHP but also suggest that NHP are unique in their ability to support diverse AstV genotypes, further challenging the paradigm that astrovirus infection is species-specific.