Astroviruses is a non-enveloped virus with large host range breadth. AstV-associated gastroenteritis in human and animal, nephritis in chicken, gout in gosling, and hepatitis in duckling pose great threats to public health and poultry industry. Since early 2020, continuous emergence of fatal goose astrovirus (GAstV) infections characterized by articular and visceral gout were reported in China. Here, we described two outbreaks of emerging gout disease in two different goose farms of central China. Two virulent GAstV strains, designated as HNKF-1/China/2020 and HNSQ-6/China/2020, were isolated, and the fifth passage of the isolates could cause urate crystals accumulated in the allantoic fluid and even deposited around great vessels and embryo bodies. Meanwhile, the source of these GAstV outbreaks were tracked to goose hatcheries. The prevalence of GAstV in the goose embryos with hatch failure was confirmed and embryo-origin HNXX-6/China/2020 was further isolated. The complete genome of these three newly isolates were then sequenced and analyzed. The results showed that Chinese GAstVs have formed two distinct groups and the three GAstV isolates, as well as most of the Chinese GAstVs, belong to the G-I group. There are several amino acid mutations in the three newly identified GAstVs, such as A520T, S535R, V555I, A782T in ORF1a, and Q229P in ORF2, suggesting the field stains, HNKF-1/China/2020 and HNSQ-6/China/2020, might derive from the weak goose embryo via vertical transmission. Moreover, the phylogenetic analysis of the complete viral genome and individual viral proteins revealed that Chinese GAstV strains have been constantly evolving toward more complicated and various directions. Our study reported the recently emerging GAstV outbreaks in central China, and further analyzed the genetic characteristics of three virulent G-I GAstV isolates from commercial goose farms and goose hatchery, indicating the diverse transmission of the virus and providing a basis for developing effective preventive measures and control strategies.
This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.