Molecular and Serological Evidence for the Presence of Novel Phleboviruses in Sandflies from Northern Algeria
Grégory Moureau1, Laurence Bichaud1, Nicolas Salez1, Laetitia Ninove1, Boussad Hamrioui2, Smail Belazzoug3, Xavier de Lamballerie1, Arezki Izri4, Rémi N Charrel*, 1
1 Unité des Virus Emergents (UMR190) Université de la Méditerranée - Institute of Research for Development, Marseille, France
2 Université d’Alger, Alger, Algeria
3 Laboratoire d'Analyses médicales Bou-Ismail 40 Lot Polyclinique Tipaza, Algérie
4 Université Paris 13, UFR Bobigny, France
During summer 2007, a total of 785 phlebotomine flies were trapped in northern Algeria, identified morphologically, organised as monospecific pools and tested for the presence of phlebovirus RNA using degenerate primers. Three pools were positive, and the corresponding PCR products were cloned and sequenced. Viral sequences corresponding to two phleboviruses distinct from each other were detected in sandflies circulating in two close locations (140 km apart) in Northern Algeria. The 3 sequences were aligned with homologous polymerase sequences retrieved from the Genbank database, in order to examine their phylogenetic relationships. One viral sequence (from Phlebotomus papatasi) was closely related to but distinct from a sequence obtained from Phlebotomus ariasi sandflies trapped in Algeria in 2006. The two other viral sequences (from Phlebotomus longicuspis) were genetically distantly related to sequences corresponding to virus members of the Sandfly fever Naples virus species and although falling within the same group, this clearly represents a second distinct novel lineage. These results are indicative of a high genetic heterogeneity within sandflies trapped in a relatively small geographic area. Seroprevalence studies conducted on sera from populations living in the same areas indicated that humans can be infected by these viruses.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Unite des Virus Emergents, UMR190 "Emergence des Pathologies Virales, Faculte de Medecine, 27, blvd Jean Moulin, 13005 Marseille, France; Tel: +33 (0)4 91 32 44 20; Fax: +33 (0)4 91 32 44 21; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org