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J Virol Methods. 2006 Aug;135(2):281-7. Epub 2006 May 19.

RT-PCR for detection of all seven genotypes of Lyssavirus genus.

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Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Servicio de Microbiología Diagnóstica, Aislamiento y Detección de Virus, Ctra. Majadahonda-Pozuelo Km2, 28220 Majadahonda, Madrid, Spain.


The Lyssavirus genus includes seven species or genotypes named 1-7. Rabies genotypes correlate with geographical distribution and specific hosts. Co-circulation of different lyssaviruses, imported cases, and the presence of unknown viruses, such as Aravan, Khujand, Irkut and West Caucasian Bat Virus, make it necessary to use generic methods able to detect all lyssaviruses. Primer sequences were chosen from conserved regions in all genotypes in order to optimise a generic RT-PCR. Serial dilutions of 12 RNA extracts from all seven Lyssavirus genotypes were examined to compare the sensitivity of the RT-PCR standardised in this study with a published RT-PCR optimised for EBLV1 detection and capable of amplifying RNA from all seven lyssaviruses. All seven genotypes were detected by both RT-PCRs, however, the sensitivity was higher with the new version of the test. Twenty samples submitted for rabies diagnosis were tested by the new RT-PCR. Eight out of 20 samples from six dogs, one horse and one bat were found positive, in agreement with immunofluorescence results. Seven samples from terrestrial mammals were genotype 1 and one from a bat was genotype 5. In conclusion, this method can be used to complement immunofluorescence for the diagnosis of rabies, enabling the detection of unexpected lyssaviruses during rabies surveillance.

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