Borna Disease is a severe, immunopathological disorder of the central nervous system, caused by infection with Borna Disease Virus (BDV). The main known naturally affected animal species in endemic areas in central Europe are horses and sheep.
In this study we present evidence of shrew mice (Crocidura leucodon) as a vector of BDV. The widespread presence of viral antigen and –RNA in the organs of this animal species without producing pathological lesions differs from the classical hosts such as equines, small ruminants and other domestic animals naturally infected with BDV.
The detection of BDV in the shrew mice was achieved by immunohistochemistry and by TaqMan® Real Time RT-PCR. RT-PCR mplification products were sequenced, and the sequences were compared with those from horses and sheep originating from the same geographical region, which had died from Borna Disease (BD).