Epidemiology and Infection

Short Report


Typing of the rabies virus in Chile, 2002–2008

V. YUNGa1 c1, M. FAVIa1 and J. FERNANDEZa2

a1 Sección Rabia, Subdepartamento Virología, Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile, Santiago, Chile

a2 Subdepartamento Genética Molecular, Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile, Santiago, Chile


In Chile, dog rabies has been controlled and insectivorous bats have been identified as the main rabies reservoir. This study aimed to determine the rabies virus (RABV) variants circulating in the country between 2002 and 2008. A total of 612 RABV isolates were tested using a panel with eight monoclonal antibodies against the viral nucleoprotein (N-mAbs) for antigenic typing, and a product of 320-bp of the nucleoprotein gene was sequenced from 99 isolates. Typing of the isolates revealed six different antigenic variants but phylogenetic analysis identified four clusters associated with four different bat species. Tadarida brasiliensis bats were confirmed as the main reservoir. This methodology identified several independent rabies enzootics maintained by different species of insectivorous bats in Chile.

(Received July 20 2011)

(Revised February 23 2012)

(Accepted March 04 2012)

(Online publication March 30 2012)

Key words

  • Antigenic variant;
  • bats;
  • phylogenetic analysis;
  • rabies


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr V. Yung, Marathon 1000, código postal 7780050, Ñuñoa, Santiago, Chile. (Email: vyung@ispch.cl)