Characterization of the Fecal Virome and Fecal Virus Shedding Patterns of Commercial Mink (Neovison vison)

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Xie, Xiao Ting
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University of Guelph

This study characterized the mink fecal virome using next-generation sequencing and investigated fecal shedding of mink-specific astrovirus, rotavirus and hepatitis E virus (HEV) over 4-years, using pooled fecal samples from commercial adult females and kits. Sequencing of 30 female and 37 kit pooled fecal samples resulted in 112,144 viral sequences with similarity to existing genomes. Of 109,612 bacteriophage sequences, Escherichia and Enterococcus–associated phage (16% and 11%, respectively) were most prevalent. Of 1237 vertebrate sequences, viral families Parvoviridae and Circoviridae were most prevalent, and 27% of viral sequences identified were of avian origin. Astrovirus, rotavirus, and HEV were detected in 14%, 3%, and 9% of samples, respectively. HEV was detected in significantly more kit than female samples (p<0.0001), and astrovirus in more summer samples than winter samples (p=0.001). This research permits improved understanding of potential causative agents of mink gastroenteritis, as well as virus shedding in healthy commercial mink.

mink, astrovirus, rotavirus, hepatitis E virus, viral metagenomics