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Zoonoses Public Health. 2018 Feb;65(1):222-226. doi: 10.1111/zph.12392. Epub 2017 Sep 14.

Re-emergence of rabies virus maintained by canid populations in Paraguay.

Author information

Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare, Asunción, Paraguay.
PANAFTOSA - PanAmerican Health Organization - World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Duque de Caxias, RJ, Brazil.
Laboratory of Clinical and Molecular Virology - Institute of Biomedical Sciences - University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil.
National Service of Quality and Animal Health - SENACSA, Asunción, Paraguay.
Pasteur Institute of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.
PanAmerican Health Organization - World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), Asunción, Paraguay.
Center of Zoonosis Control, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Paraguay has registered no human cases of rabies since 2004, and the last case in dogs, reported in 2009, was due to a variant maintained in the common vampire bat "Desmodus rotundus". In 2014, a dog was diagnosed as positive for rabies with aggression towards a boy and all required measures of control were successfully adopted. Epidemiological investigation revealed that the dog was not vaccinated and had been attacked by a crab-eating fox, "zorro" (Cerdocyon thous). The sample was diagnosed by the Official Veterinary Service of the Country and sent to the Center on Rabies Research from the University of São Paulo, Brazil, for antigenic and genetic characterization. A second sample from a dog positive for rabies in the same region in 2015 and 11 samples from a rabies outbreak from Asuncion in 1996 were also characterized. The antigenic profile of the samples, AgV2, was compatible with one of the variants maintained by dogs in Latin America. In genetic characterization, the samples segregated in the canine (domestic and wild species)-related group in an independent subgroup that also included samples from Argentina. These results and the epidemiology of the case indicate that even with the control of rabies in domestic animals, the virus can still circulate in wildlife and may be transmitted to domestic animals and humans, demonstrating the importance of continuous and improved surveillance and control of rabies, including in wild species, to prevent outbreaks in controlled areas.


Cerdocyon thous ; Paraguay; Rabies virus; dogs; rabies; wild canids

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