Genetic characterization and geographic distribution of rabies virus isolates in Brazil: identification of two reservoirs, dogs and vampire bats

M Ito, Y T Arai, T Itou, T Sakai, F H Ito, T Takasaki, I Kurane
Virology 2001 June 5, 284 (2): 214-22
We analyzed 50 rabies virus samples isolated in Brazil from 12 dogs, 11 cats, 5 vampire bats, 15 cattle, 2 horses, 1 pig, 1 sheep, and 3 humans to investigate the molecular epidemiology of rabies viruses. We sequenced 203 nucleotides on the nucleoprotein gene by direct sequencing of the PCR-amplified products. All the isolates belonged to the genotype 1 and homology of the 203 nucleotides was at least 83.7% among isolates. The main reservoirs were estimated based on the homology of nucleotide sequences. Brazilian rabies virus isolates were clustered into two reservoir groups: dogs and vampire bats. All the dog-related rabies virus isolates showed nucleotide homology greater than 99.0%. Vampire bat-related rabies virus isolates showed nucleotide homology greater than 96.6% and could be further divided into subgroups corresponding to areas where viruses were isolated. These data suggest that circulating rabies variants belong to at least two different genotype clusters in Brazil and that these two clusters are maintained independently among vampire bats and dogs.

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