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Onderstepoort J Vet Res. 1993 Dec;60(4):379-87.

A systematic and population genetic approach to the rabies problem in the yellow mongoose (Cynictis penicillata).

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Durban Natural Science Museum, South Africa.


This paper reviews recent studies on the biology, systematics and population genetics of yellow mongoose populations in terms of possible implications for the epidemiology of rabies. Based on parallel studies, the existence of three distinct subspecies of yellow mongoose may have a direct bearing on rabies epidemiology; at least subspecific affiliation should be considered as a factor to be controlled for in rabies studies of the species. A direct correlation was found to exist between population genetics, social structure (and vagility) and aspects of the epidemiology of rabies in the yellow mongoose. The high frequency of enzyme polymorphisms restricted to single populations can be understood in terms of the well developed social structure and low vagility of yellow mongooses, which in turn explains the phenomenon of rabies outbreaks being restricted to highly localized foci which may flare up over a period of several years. Further research is required to establish whether predictable population genetic differences exist between high and low rabies-prone populations.

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