Phylogenetic analysis of rabies viruses from Sudan provides evidence of a viral clade with a unique molecular signature

D A Marston, L M McElhinney, Y H Ali, K S Intisar, S M Ho, C Freuling, T Müller, A R Fooks
Virus Research 2009, 145 (2): 244-50
Rabies is endemic in Sudan and remains a continual threat to public health as transmission to humans is principally dog-mediated. Additionally, large-scale losses of livestock occur each year causing economic and social dilemmas. In this study, we analysed a cohort of 143 rabies viruses circulating in Sudan collected from 10 different animal species between 1992 and 2006. Partial nucleoprotein sequence data (400 bp) were obtained and compared to available sequence data of African classical rabies virus (RABV) isolates. The Sudanese sequences formed a discrete cluster within the Africa 1a group, including a small number of sequences that clustered with sequences from Ethiopian RABV. These latter sequences share an Aspartic Acid at position 106 (Asp(106)) with all other Africa 1a group members, in contrast to the remaining Sudanese strains, which encode Glutamic Acid at this position (Glu(106)). Furthermore, when representatives of other African and European lineages were aligned, Glu(106) is unique to Sudan, which supports the concept of a single distinct virus strain circulating in Sudan. The high sequence identity in all Sudanese isolates studied, demonstrates the presence of a single rabies virus biotype for which the principal reservoir is the domestic dog.

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