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NOROVIRUS has a positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome and belongs to the family Caliciviridae. Members of the family are assigned to four genera, named Vesivirus, Lagovirus, Norovirus and Sapovirus,on the basis of their genomic organisation and phylogenetic pattern (Mayo 2002). Two virus strains detected in faecal samples of cattle called Newbury agent-1 (Bridger and others 1984) and Nebraska (Smiley and others 2002) cluster together in a separate group for which the genus names Becovirus or Nabovirus have been proposed (Oliver and others 2006). Norovirus and sapovirus are an important cause of acute gastroenteritis in human beings (Koo and others 2010) and may also infect herds of pigs and cattle (van der Poel and others 2000, Reuter and others 2010) and pet animals (Martella and others 2008). Norovirus infection in animals has been either associated with diarrhoea or found to be asymptomatic (van der Poel and others 2000, Mijovski and others 2010). Bovine norovirus prototype strains identified so far are the Newbury2 strain, previously known as Newbury agent 2, and the Jena virus. All bovine norovirus strains fall into genogroup III (GIII) of Norovirus, which includes two genotypes. Viruses genetically related to Jena virus were assigned to genotype 1 (GIII.1) and viruses genetically related to Newbury2 were assigned to genotype 2 (GIII.2) (Ando and others 2000).
This short communication describes the identification of bovine norovirus strains belonging to either GIII.1 or GIII.2 in a sample of calves from Italy presenting …