Picobirnavirus (PBV) is a small, non-enveloped, bisegmented double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) virus of vertebrate hosts. The name ‘Picobirnavirus’ derives from the prefix ‘pico’ (latin for ‘small’) in reference to the small virion size, plus the prefix ‘bi’ (latin for ‘two’) and the word ‘RNA’ to indicate the nature of the viral genome. The serendipitous discovery of PBV dates back to 1988 from Brazil, when human fecal samples collected during the acute gastroenteritis outbreaks were subjected for routine rotavirus surveillance by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and silver straining (S/S). The PAGE gels after silver staining showed a typical ‘two RNA band’ pattern, and it was identified as Picobirnavirus. Likewise, the feces of wild black-footed pigmy rice rats (Oryzomys nigripes) subjected for PAGE assay by the same research group in Brazil reported the presence of PBV (Pereira et al., J Gen Virol 69:2749–2754, 1988). PBVs have been detected in faeces of humans and wide range of animal species with or without diarrhoea, worldwide. The probable role of PBV as either a ‘primary diarrhoeal agent’ in ‘immunocompetent children’; or a ‘potential pathogen’ in ‘immunocompromised individuals’ or an ‘innocuous virus’ in the intestine remains elusive and needs to be investigated despite the numerous reports of the presence of PBV in fecal samples of various species of domestic mammals, wild animals, birds and snakes; our current knowledge of their biology, etiology, pathogenicity or their transmission characteristics remains subtle. This review aims to analyse the veterinary and zoonotic aspects of animal Picobirnavirus infections since its discovery.
Author affiliation: Ganesh, Balasubramanian. National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases. Kolkata; India
Author affiliation: Masachessi, Gisela. Universidad Nacional de Cordoba. Facultad de Medicina. Instituto de Virología; Argentina
Author affiliation: Mladenovac, Zornitsa. National Center of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases. Sofia; Bulgaria