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Comparison of pathogenic domains of rabies and African rabies-related lyssaviruses and pathogenicity observed in mice

Joe Kgaladi, Louis H. Nel, Wanda Markotter

Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research; Vol 80, No 1 (2013), 13 pages. doi: 10.4102/ojvr.v80i1.511

Submitted: 27 August 2012
Published:  08 March 2013


Several lyssavirus species occur in Africa (Rabies virus, Lagos bat virus, Mokola virus, Duvenhage virus, Shimoni bat virus and Ikoma lyssavirus), displaying a high sequence diversity between isolates belonging to the same species. There is limited information about comparative pathogenesis of these African lyssaviruses and this precludes authoritative opinion on the potential public and veterinary health impact. In this study, an analysis of representative African lyssaviruses attempted to correlate viral genomic sequence similarities and differences with the corresponding pathogenic profiles observed in mice. The study demonstrated that the virus isolates evaluated could be lethal to mice when introduced intramuscularly and that different isolates of the same lyssavirus species differ in their virulence. Using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), viral RNA was detected in brain tissue, but no viral RNA was detected in the salivary glands or blood of mice that succumbed to infection. Comparison of known pathogenic domains indicated that pathogenicity is likely to be dependent on multiple domains. Cumulatively, our results re-emphasised the realisation that the pathogenicity of a lyssavirus species cannot be deduced based on studies of only a single isolate of the species or a single pathogenic domain.

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Author affiliations

Joe Kgaladi, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Louis H. Nel, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Wanda Markotter, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Africa; lyssavirus; pathogenesis; rabies; pathogenic domains


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ISSN: 0030-2465 (print) | ISSN: 2219-0635 (online)

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