Molecular characterization of rabies virus isolates in China during 2004

Yong-Zhen Zhang, Cheng-Long Xiong, Yang Zou, Ding-Ming Wang, Ren-Jie Jiang, Qi-You Xiao, Zong-Yu Hao, Ling-Zhu Zhang, Yong-Xin Yu, Zhen F Fu
Virus Research 2006, 121 (2): 179-88
Human rabies cases have been on the rise during the past few years in China and a total of 2651 cases were reported in 2004. To better understand the current rabies epidemics in China, we isolated rabies viruses from dogs and humans from five provinces and characterized these isolates genetically by sequencing the entire nucleoprotein (N) gene. Comparison of the N genes among these isolates revealed 86.6-99.9% homology and these viruses can be grouped into three lineages. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that all the Chinese isolates have a close relationship with viruses circulating in Asian canine population. When compared with rabies viruses isolated previously, the three lineages were similar to three of the four groups. Thus, our data suggest that rabies viruses currently circulating in China were similar, if not identical, to those reported in the previous epidemics.

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