Recently identified hantaviruses harbored by shrews and moles (order Soricomorpha) suggest that other mammals having shared ancestry may serve as reservoirs. To investigate this possibility, archival tissues from 213 insectivorous bats (order Chiroptera) were analyzed for hantavirus RNA by RT-PCR. Following numerous failed attempts, hantavirus RNA was detected in ethanol-fixed liver tissue from two banana pipistrelles (Neoromicia nanus), captured near Mouyassué village in Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, in June 2011. Phylogenetic analysis of partial L-segment sequences using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods revealed that the newfound hantavirus, designated Mouyassué virus (MOUV), was highly divergent and basal to all other rodent- and soricomorph-borne hantaviruses, except for Nova virus in the European common mole (Talpa europaea). Full genome sequencing of MOUV and further surveys of other bat species for hantaviruses, now underway, will provide critical insights into the evolution and diversification of hantaviruses.
© 2012 Sumibcay et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.