The recent discovery of genetically distinct hantaviruses in multiple species of shrews and moles (order Eulipotyphla, families Soricidae and Talpidae) prompted a further exploration of their host diversification and geographic distribution by analyzing lung tissues from 376 fruit bats representing six genera (order Chiroptera, suborder Yinpterochiroptera, family Pteropodidae), collected in the Republic of the Philippines during 2008 to 2013. Hantavirus RNA was detected by RT-PCR in one of 15 Geoffroy's rousettes (Rousettus amplexicaudatus), captured in Quezon Memorial National Park on Luzon Island in 2009. Phylogenetic analyses of the S, M and L segments, using maximum-likelihood and Bayesian methods, showed that the newfound hantavirus, designated Quezon virus (QZNV), shared a common ancestry with hantaviruses hosted by insectivorous bats, in keeping with their evolutionary relationships and suggests that ancestral bats may have served as the early or original mammalian hosts of primordial hantaviruses. As the first hantavirus detected in a megabat or flying fox species, QZNV extends our knowledge about the reservoir host range.
Keywords: Fruits bats; Hantavirus; Philippines; Phylogeny.
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