Bat Astrovirus in Mozambique

Virol J. 2018 Jun 20;15(1):104. doi: 10.1186/s12985-018-1011-x.


Astroviruses (AstVs) are responsible for infection of a large diversity of mammalian and avian species, including bats, aquatic birds, livestock and humans. We investigated AstVs circulation in bats in Mozambique and Mayotte, a small island in the Comoros Archipelago located between east Africa and Madagascar. Biological material was collected from 338 bats and tested for the presence of the AstV RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase gene with a pan-AstV semi-nested polymerase chain reaction assay. None of the 79 samples obtained from Mayotte bats (Pteropus seychellensis comorensis and Chaerephon pusillus) tested positive; however, 20.1% of bats sampled in Mozambique shed AstVs at the time of sampling and significant interspecific variation in the proportion of positive bats was detected. Many AstVs sequences obtained from a given bat species clustered in different phylogenetic lineages, while others seem to reflect some level of host-virus association, but also with AstVs previously reported from Malagasy bats. Our findings support active circulation of a large diversity of AstVs in bats in the western Indian Ocean islands, including the southeastern African coast, and highlight the need for more detailed assessment of its risk of zoonotic transmission to human populations.

Keywords: Madagascar; Mammastrovirus; Mayotte; Mozambique; Triaenops afer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Animal Diseases / virology*
  • Animals
  • Astroviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Astroviridae*
  • Chiroptera / virology*
  • Genes, Viral
  • Mozambique / epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral


  • RNA, Viral