Putative vaccine breakthrough event associated with heterotypic rotavirus infection in newborn calves, Turkey, 2015

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Group A rotaviruses (RVA) are regarded as major enteric pathogens of large ruminants, including cattle. Rotavirus vaccines administered to pregnant cows are commonly used to provide passive immunity that protects newborn calves from the clinical disease. In this study we report the detection of RVA from calves with severe diarrhea in a herd regularly vaccinated to prevent enteric infections including RVA. Diarrheic disease was observed in newborn calves aged 4–15 days, with high morbidity and mortality rates, but no diarrhea was seen in adult animals. Rotavirus antigen was detected by enzyme-immunoassay in the intestinal content or the fecal samples of all examined animals. Besides RVA, bovine coronavirus and bovine enteric calicivirus were detected in some samples. Selected RVA strains were characterized by whole genome sequencing. Two strains, RVA/Cow-wt/TUR/Amasya-1/2015/G8P[5] and RVA/Cow-wt/TUR/Amasya-2/2015/G8P[5] were genotyped as G8-P[5]-I2-R2-C2-M2-A3-N2-T6-E2-H3 and showed >99% nucleotide sequence identity among themselves. This genomic constellation is fairly common among bovine RVA strains; however, phylogenetic analysis of the G8 VP7 gene showed close genetic relationship to some European human RVA strains (up to 98.4% nt identity). Our findings is the first indication regarding the circulation of G8 RVA strains in Turkey. Given that the administered RVA vaccines contained type G6 and G10 VP7 antigens some concerns raised with regard to the level of heterotypic protection elicited by the vaccine strains against circulating bovine G8 RVA strains. Enhancement of surveillance of circulating RVA strains in calves across Turkey is needed to support ongoing vaccination programs.




Karayel, I., Fehér, E., Marton, S., Coskun, N., Bányai, K., & Alkan, F. (2017). Putative vaccine breakthrough event associated with heterotypic rotavirus infection in newborn calves, Turkey, 2015. Veterinary Microbiology, 201, 7–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vetmic.2016.12.028

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