New virus discovered - Update!

Update on Characterization, Transmission, and Preliminary Epidemiologic Studies

In November 2016 we reported the discovery of a new rat Polyomavirus by IDEXX researchers. Now we can share the peer reviewed publication, which includes additional information regarding the characterization, transmission, and preliminary epidemiologic studies.

Below you can find the abstract or click here to access the full text article. 

Rat Polyoma virus 2 infected .jpg

A Naturally Transmitted Epitheliotropic Polyomavirus Pathogenic in Immunodeficient Rats: Characterization, Transmission, and Preliminary Epidemiologic Studies


We report the identification, pathogenesis, and transmission of a novel polyomavirusin severe combined immunodeficient F344 rats with null Prkdc and interleukin 2 receptor gamma genes. Infected rats experienced weight loss, decreased fecundity, and mortality. Large basophilic intranuclear inclusions were observed in epithelium of the respiratory tract, salivary and lacrimal glands, uterus, and prostate gland. Unbiased viral metagenomic sequencing of lesioned tissues identified a novel polyomavirus, provisionally named Rattus norvegicus polyomavirus 2 (RatPyV2), which clustered with Washington University (WU) polyomavirus in the Wuki clade of the Betapolyomavirus genus. In situ hybridization analyses and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results demonstrated viral nucleic acids in epithelium of respiratory, glandular, and reproductive tissues. Polyomaviral disease was reproduced in Foxn1rnu nude rats cohoused with infected rats or experimentally inoculated with virus. After development of RatPyV2-specific diagnostic assays, a survey of immune-competent rats from North American research institutions revealed detection of RatPyV2 in 7 of 1,000 fecal samples by PCR and anti-RatPyV2 antibodies in 480 of 1,500 serum samples. These findings suggest widespread infection in laboratory rat populations, which may have profound implications for established models of respiratory injury. Additionally, RatPyV2 infection studies may provide an important system to investigate the pathogenesis of WU polyomavirus diseases of man.