The Hepacivirus genus comprises single-stranded positive-sense RNA viruses within the family Flaviviridae. Several hepaciviruses have been identified in different mammals, including multiple rodent species in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. To date, no rodent hepacivirus has been identified in the South American continent. Here, we describe an unknown hepacivirus discovered during a metagenomic screen in Akodon montensis, Calomys tener, Oligoryzomys nigripes, Necromys lasiurus, and Mus musculus from São Paulo State, Brazil. Molecular detection of this novel hepacivirus by RT-PCR showed a frequency of 11.11% (2/18) in Oligoryzomys nigripes. This is the first identification of hepavivirus in sigmondonine rodents and in rodents from South America. In sum, our results expand the host range, viral diversity, and geographical distribution of the Hepacivirus genus.
Keywords: Flaviviridae; Hepacivirus; Viral hepatitis.