Rabies in southeast Brazil: a change in the epidemiological pattern
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This epidemiological study was conducted using antigenic and genetic characterisation of rabies virus isolates obtained from different animal species in the southeast of Brazil from 1993 to 2007. An alteration in the epidemiological profile was observed. One hundred two samples were tested using a panel of eight monoclonal antibodies, and 94 were genetically characterised by sequencing the nucleoprotein gene. From 1993 to 1997, antigenic variant 2 (AgV-2), related to a rabies virus maintained in dog populations, was responsible for rabies cases in dogs, cats, cattle and horses. Antigenic variant 3 (AgV-3), associated with Desmodus rotundus, was detected in a few cattle samples from rural areas. From 1998 to 2007, rabies virus was detected in bats and urban pets, and four distinct variants were identified. A nucleotide similarity analysis resulted in two primary groups comprising the dog and bat antigenic variants and showing the distinct endemic cycles maintained in the different animal species in this region.
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