Bornavirus diagnostics & reporting obligation
The most suitable diagnostic procedure depends on the virus in question and the host to be examined.
In infected reservoir hosts (shrews for BoDV-1, squirrels for VSBV-1), the virus can be detected in the excretions (e.g. oral swabs, faecal samples) and in many organs, with the highest viral load mostly being found in the brain.
In the case of non-reservoir hosts (e.g. horses, sheep, alpacas for BoDV-1, humans for BoDV-1 & VSBV-1) intra vitam diagnosis is much more challenging, since the viruses are almost completely restricted to the central nervous system. Large amounts of virus can therefore only be detected in the brain, eye and spinal cord. Low amounts are occasionally found in peripheral nerves or in the cerebrospinal fluid, but not in blood or excretions (e.g. mucosal swabs).
The serological detection of antibodies against bornaviruses is possible and can provide important information about an infection. However, since false positive results can also occur, serology only allows a suspected diagnosis, which must be confirmed by direct virus detection.
Direct evidence of a bornavirus infection in a mammal is notifiable in Germany. The notification does not entail any animal health measures.