Molecular surveillance of viral pathogens associated with diarrhea in pre-weaned Korean native calves

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Calf diarrhea causes severe economic losses in the cattle industry worldwide. This study investigated the prevalence of bovine coronavirus (BCoV), bovine norovirus (BNoV), bovine group A rotavirus (BoRVA), and bovine torovirus (BToV) in calves aged ≤ 60 days, regardless of diarrhea, across nine different regions in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and reported associations between these viruses and diarrhea. Fecal samples were collected rectally from 689 calves: normal (n = 360) and diarrheic (n = 329). BNoV (84/689, 12.2%) was the most prevalent regardless of diarrhea, followed by BCoV (37/689, 5.4%), BToV (15/689, 2.2%), and BoRVA (13/689, 1.9%). Although BCoV (P = 0.032) and BoRVA (P = 0.007) were significantly associated with diarrhea in pre-weaned calves, BNoV and BToV showed no association. Infection by the four pathogens had no relationship with calf age; BoRVA was detected only in calves aged < 30 days, but this finding was not statistically significant. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that BCoV isolates obtained in this study were distinct from the other known BCoVs, and all BNoV isolates belonged to GIII.2 genotype; genetic variations in BNoVs are present in the ROK. BoRVA isolates distributed in the ROK were assigned to G6P[5]. Within the P[5] genotype, our isolates were divided into two lineages: P[5]-III and P[5]-VIII. P[5]- VIII lineage was dominant in pre-weaned Korean native calves. Our BToV isolates were more closely related to a European isolate, B145, than to Japanese isolates. Here, BNoV was frequently identified in calves, suggesting its non-significant contribution to calf diarrhea, whereas BCoV and BoRVA were responsible for calf diarrhea in the ROK. Consequently, our results highlight the importance of rapid diagnosis against these viruses in calf diarrhea.

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The authors would like to thank Mr. Jeong-Byoung Chae and Du-Gyeong Han for helping to collect feces.

Funding information

This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Korea government (MSIP) (No. 2018R1D1A1B07048271).

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Correspondence to Kyoung-Seong Choi.

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This study was approved and performed in accordance with the ethics guidelines and procedures of the policy of the review to Kyungpook National University Animal Care and Use Committee. Each farmer also provided their written informed consent prior to inclusion in our study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Ryu, J., Shin, S. & Choi, K. Molecular surveillance of viral pathogens associated with diarrhea in pre-weaned Korean native calves. Trop Anim Health Prod (2020).

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  • Calf diarrhea
  • Bovine coronavirus
  • Bovine norovirus
  • Bovine group a rotavirus
  • Bovine torovirus