Novel Coronavirus and Astrovirus in Delaware Bay Shorebirds

Honkavuori, Kirsi; Briese, Thomas; Krauss, Scott; Sanchez, Maria D.; Jain, Komal; Hutchison, Stephen K.; Webster, Robret G.; Lipkin, W. Ian

Background: Wild birds are an important but to some extent under-studied reservoir for emerging pathogens. We used unbiased sequencing methods for virus discovery in shorebird samples from the Delaware Bay, USA; an important feeding ground for thousands of migratory birds. Findings: Analysis of shorebird fecal samples indicated the presence of a novel astrovirus and coronavirus. A sanderling sample yielded sequences with distant homology to avian nephritis virus 1, an astrovirus associated with acute nephritis in poultry. A ruddy turnstone sample yielded sequences with homology to deltacoronaviruses. Conclusions: Our findings highlight shorebirds as a virus reservoir and the need to closely monitor wild bird populations for the emergence of novel virus variants.

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Center for Infection and Immunity
Public Library of Science
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October 17, 2016