Human, Swine, and Fruits Bats Antibodies against Pteropine Orthoreovirus in Peninsular Malaysia

Lead Researcher:

Dr. Kenny Voon Gah Leong, IMU

 

Co-researchers:

Dr. Leong Pooi Pooi, UTAR

Dr. Ooi Peck Toung, UPM

Frankie Thomas Sitam, PERHILITAN

Prof. Dr. Latiffah Hassan, UPM

 

Project Summary

The discovery of novel bat orthoreovirus associated with the acute respiratory syndrome in Malaysia in 2006 suggests that bats are transmitting a new emerging zoonotic disease into human populations. Subsequently, more of this new orthoreovirus were detected and isolated from other parts of the world. This new orthoreovirus named as Pteropine Orthoreovirus (PRV) implying the origin of the virus from Pteropus bat species. A study by Voon et al. using molecular technique has found that 17% of patients tested were positive for PRV infection while another study by Harpal et al. in Vietnam has shown that 12 out of 272 patients tested has antibodies against PRV. All these studies point to the presence of PRV in the Southeast Asia region. A new infectious disease is emerging and evolving, but we have insufficient knowledge about this new viral agent about its mechanism of transmission to humans and other animals. One Health approach research is urgently needed to understand these and other fundamental issues better so that we can be prepared for early detection, prevention, and control of future disease outbreaks. This project aims to conduct serological surveillance of bats, swine and human populations in Malaysia to assess the current infection status. There are three research questions we aim to answer. 1) What is the prevalence rate of PRV in fruit bats (Pteropus species) in Malaysia? 2) Assuming possible infection in swine population, what is the prevalence rate of PRV infecting swine population? 3) What is the prevalence rate of PRV infecting out-patients based on serological surveillance? The output of this project will provide the essential foundation for our understanding of these novel emerging agents and development of necessary research, diagnosis and surveillance tools required for field studies and disease management.