Rotaviruses (family Reoviridae, genus Rotavirus) are a significant cause of acute dehydrating gastroenteritis in birds and mammals. Rotaviruses are classified into serogroups based on major antigenic differences in the genome. However, reclassification as distinct species, Rotavirus A-H, has been proposed.
In this study, fecal samples from 50 shelter dogs in northern Hungary were assessed for enteric viruses. Two unusual but related rotavirus strains were identified through viral sequencing. These strains demonstrated moderate genetic relatedness to Rotavirus spp A through H and are tentatively classified as a novel rotavirus species, Rotavirus I. Recently detected rotavirus sequences from cats and California sea lions have demonstrated closer relatedness to the new strains than to Rotavirus spp A through H, which suggested the presence of genetically related nonrotavirus A through H strains in various carnivore hosts and geographic locations.