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Emerg Infect Dis. 2008 Sep;14(9):1398-405. doi: 10.3201/eid1409.080570.

Circulation of 3 lineages of a novel Saffold cardiovirus in humans.

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Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil.


Cardioviruses cause serious disease, mainly in rodents, including diabetes, myocarditis, encephalomyelitis, and multiple sclerosis-like disseminated encephalomyelitis. Recently, a human virus isolate obtained 25 years ago, termed Saffold virus, was sequenced and classified as a cardiovirus. We conducted systematic molecular screening for Saffold-like viruses in 844 fecal samples from patients with gastroenteritis from Germany and Brazil, across all age groups. Six cardioviruses were identified in patients <6 years of age. Viral loads were 283,305-5,044,412,175 copies/g of stool. Co-infections occurred in 4 of 6 children. No evidence for outbreak-like epidemic patterns was found. Phylogenetic analysis identified 3 distinct genetic lineages. Viral protein 1 amino acids were 67.9%-77.7% identical and had a distance of at least 39.4% from known cardioviruses. Because closely related strains were found on 2 continents, global distribution in humans is suspected. Saffold-like viruses may be the first human cardiovirus species to be identified.

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