During the investigation of an outbreak of diarrhea in suckling rats, a virus morphologically identical to but antigenically distinct from rotaviruses was identified. The disease was characterized clinically by erythema and cracking and bleeding of the perianal skin associated with the excretion of poorly formed fecal pellets, liquid, and gas. Light microscopy-observable changes consisted of small intestinal villous atrophy, villous epithelial necrosis, and villous epithelial syncytial cell formation. The cytoplasm of the epithelial syncytial cells contained large numbers of 80-nm viral particles that were often associated with reticular aggregates of electron-dense material. Viral infection principally involved the luminal one-fourth to one-third of the intestinal villi as determined by indirect immunofluorescence. This rotavirus-like agent contained 11 double-stranded RNA segments; however, the migration pattern of these segments in polyacrylamide gels differed from the electrophoretic pattern which is characteristic of the typical rotaviruses. The agent had a buoyant density in CsCl of 1.36 to 1.4 g/cm3 and was labile at pH 3 and at 56°C; however, infectivity of viral inocula was not altered by extensive treatment with ether or by pH 5 buffers. This disease, which we have named infectious diarrhea of infant rats, is the first recognized viral diarrhea of rats and appears to be a good model for the study of the recently recognized group of atypical rotaviruses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science