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BMC Vet Res. 2006 Jan 13;2:2.

A molecular epidemiological study of rabies epizootics in kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) in Namibia.

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  • 1Rabies and Wildlife Zoonoses Group, Veterinary Laboratories Agency (VLA, Weybridge), WHO Collaborating Centre for the Characterisation of Rabies and Rabies-Related Viruses, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3NB, UK.



A panel of 37 rabies virus isolates were collected and studied, originating mainly from the northern and central regions of Namibia, between 1980 and 2003.


These virus isolates demonstrated a high degree of genetic similarity with respect to a 400 bp region of the nucleoprotein gene, with the virus isolates originating from kudu antelope (n = 10) sharing 97.2-100% similarity with jackal isolates, and 97-100% similarity with those isolated from domestic dogs. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that these viruses were all of the canid rabies biotype of southern Africa. The viruses from kudu were closely associated with jackal isolates (n = 6), bat-eared fox isolates (n = 2) and domestic dog isolates (n = 2) at the genetic level and identical at the amino acid level, irrespective of the year of isolation.


These data suggest that jackal and kudu may form part of the same epidemiological cycle of rabies in Namibian wildlife, and might demonstrate the close-relationship between rabies virus strains that circulate within Namibia and those that circulate between Namibia and its neighbouring countries such as Botswana and South Africa.

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