Canine rabies in Rio Grande do Sul caused by an insectivorous bat rabies virus variant
Keywords:Raiva, Variantes, Raiva canina, Raiva urbana, Raiva em morcego insetívoro, Diagnóstico
Rabies is caused by rabies virus (RV), a RNA virus member of the
Lyssavirus genus, family Rhabdoviridae. The aim of this study was to determine antigenic characteristics of a rabies virus isolate (RV183-07) recovered from a stray bitch that died of rabies and to infer the most likely source of contamination, since no urban rabies has been reported in the area in more than 20 years. The virus was identified by direct immunofluorescence and multiplied by one passage in mice. The antigenic profile of the isolate was determined with a panel of monoclonal antibodies to lyssavirus antigens on infected brain tissues. A fragment of the viral genome corresponding to the nucleoprotein (N) gene was submitted to reverse transcription/polymerase chain reaction and the amplicon obtained was subjected to restriction enzyme analysis. A 303 base pair fragment of the N gene was cloned, sequenced and compared to other RV sequences available at Genbank. The isolate RV183-07 displayed antigenic and genomic characteristics of rabies virus variants whose natural reservoir is the non-hematophagous bat Tadarida brasiliensis. Therefore, the most likely source of contamination of the bitch was an incidental contact with an infected bat of that species, common inhabitants of the area. In view of that, the status of “urban rabies-free” of the area was not compromised.
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