Molecular characterization of norovirus and sapovirus detected in animals and humans in Costa Rica: Zoo-anthropozoonotic potential of human norovirus GII.4

  • Derling José Pichardo Matamoros
  • Cristina Solís Worsfold
  • Rocío Cortés Campos
  • Hilda María Bolaños Acuña
  • Elena Campos Chacón
  • Carlos Francisco Jiménez Sánchez
Keywords: Costa Rica, Norovirus, Phylogeny, Sapovirus, Zoonosis.


Background: Noroviruses (NoV) and sapoviruses (SaV) are major causes of acute viral gastroenteritis in humans worldwide, as well as gastrointestinal infections in animals. However, it has not been determined whether these viruses are zoonotic pathogens.
Aim: In this study, we investigated the presence of NoV and SaV in stool samples from dogs, pigs, cows, and humans to determine some aspects of the molecular epidemiology and the genetic relationship of several strains present in these species.
Methods: Polymerase chain reaction and sequencing of NoV and SaV strains present in stool samples from humans and dogs with diarrhea, pigs, and cattle with and without diarrhea were carried out during fragmented periods from 2002 to 2012.
Results: Of all samples analyzed, 11.6% (123/1,061) of the samples were positive for NoV and 0.88% (9/1,023) were positive for SaV. The phylogenetic analysis confirmed 16 human strains of NoV (HuNoV) belonging to HuNoV G?/ GII.P2 (1), GII.4/GII.P4 (5), G?/GII.P4 (9), and GII.6/GII.P6 (1) and allowed us to verify and assign three strains of human SaV to genotypes GI.2 (1) and GII.5 (2). In dogs, eight strains of NoV [HuNoV G?/GII.P4 (4) and canine G?/ GVI.P1 (4)] and two strains of canine SaV were determined. In pigs, six strains were assigned to HuNoV G?/GII.P4 and four strains to porcine SaV were assigned to genogroup GIII (2), GVIII (1), and GXI (1). In bovines, five strains were characterized as HuNoV G?/GII.P4.
Conclusions: This study showed that NoV and SaV prototype strains have been present in humans and dogs in Costa Rica. Additionally, it revealed that the zoonotic potential of SaV is very limited, while the zoonotic implications for HuNoV GII.4 are stronger due to the simultaneous circulation of strains related to HuNoV GII.4 in four species, which suggests a zoo-anthropozoonosis.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2218-6050
print ISSN: 2226-4485