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Virus Res. 2007 Jun;126(1-2):186-95. Epub 2007 Apr 23.

Emerging epidemic dog rabies in coastal South Africa: a molecular epidemiological analysis.

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Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, 0001 Pretoria, South Africa.


Towards understanding the molecular epidemiology of a severe dog rabies epidemic in the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa, we analyzed a variable 592 nucleotide genome sequence domain of 170 rabies viruses from KwaZulu Natal and surrounding regions. Viruses from the KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape provinces belonged to a unique lineage, circulating as two independent and expanding epidemiological cycles. The first presented as closely related dog cycles along the eastern coastal regions of the two provinces, while the second, in northern KwaZulu Natal, has entered into at least one wildlife reservoir, the black backed jackal. We underline the success and opportunism of rabies in southern Africa, in a likely reflection of the emergence and radiation of rabies in new host species and locales throughout the larger continent as a whole.

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