Epidemiology and Infection

Molecular and antigenic characterization of rabies viruses from Iran identifies variants with distinct epidemiological origins

a1 Centre of Expertise for Rabies, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Ottawa Laboratory Fallowfield, WHO Collaborating Center for Control, Pathogenesis and Epidemiology of Rabies and OIE Reference Laboratory for Rabies, 3851 Fallowfield Road, Nepean, Ontario, Canada K2H 8P9
a2 WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Rabies, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, Iran

Article author query
nadin-davis s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
simani s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
armstrong j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
fayaz a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
wandeler a   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


A molecular epidemiological study of 48 recent rabies isolates recovered from cases reported throughout Iran identified three distinct viral variants, the evolutionary origins of which were identified by phylogenetic comparison with rabies viruses originating from Europe and Asia. Members of group 1 (15 isolates) were recovered from the northern half of the country only, while those of group 2 (31 isolates) were widely dispersed; both groups clustered within the widely disseminated cosmopolitan lineage. The two isolates of group 3 were detected in the northeastern tip of the country only and belonged to the Arctic strain. Rapid variant discrimination tools, employing restriction fragment length polymorphisms applied to amplified fragments of the viral genome, were devised whilst antigenic characterization of representative viruses identified a small panel of monoclonal antibodies that were also discriminatory. The future application of such methods should provide valuable epidemiological information on rabies incidence in Iran.

(Accepted February 19 2003)

c1 Author for correspondence.