Epidemiology and Infection

Rabies

Rabies virus strains circulating in Bhutan: implications for control

TENZINa1a2, S. WACHARAPLUESADEEa3, J. DENDUANGBORIPANTa4, N. K. DHANDa1, R. DORJIa2, D. TSHERINGa5, K. RINZINa5, V. RAIKAa5, N. DAHALa5 and M. P. WARDa1 c1

a1 Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camden, Australia

a2 Regional Livestock Development Centre, Gelephu, Bhutan

a3 WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training on Viral Zoonoses, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

a4 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

a5 National Centre for Animal Health, Serbithang, Bhutan

SUMMARY

We report a molecular epidemiological study of rabies virus (RABV) strains circulating in animal populations in Bhutan, and investigate potential origins of these viruses. Twenty-three RABV isolates originating from dogs and other domestic animals were characterized by sequencing the partial nucleoprotein (N) gene (395 bp). Phylogenetic analysis was conducted and the Bhutanese isolates were compared with rabies viruses originating from other parts of the world. Phylogenetic analysis showed that Bhutanese isolates were highly similar and were closely related to Indian strains and South Asian Arctic-like-1 viruses. Our study suggests that the rabies viruses spreading in southern parts of Bhutan have originated from a common ancestor, perhaps from the Indian virus strain.

(Accepted October 31 2010)

(Online publication November 26 2010)

Correspondence:

c1 Author for correspondence: Professor M. P. Ward, Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney, Camden, 2570, Australia. (Email: michael.ward@sydney.edu.au)

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