, Volume 151, Issue 11, pp 2243-2251
Date: 16 Jun 2006

Molecular epidemiology of rabies from Maranhão and surrounding states in the northeastern region of Brazil

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Although many outbreaks of rabies have been reported in northern Brazil, few epidemiological studies of these outbreaks have been undertaken. In this study, molecular epidemiological analyses were performed using 41 rabies virus samples isolated in the Maranhão (MA), Pará (PA), and Tocantins (TO) states of northeastern Brazil. A 599-bp region of the glycoprotein (G) gene was first amplified from each sample by RT-PCR, then sequenced and subjected to phylogenetic analysis. A phylogenetic tree divided the 41 isolates into two clades: Clade I was associated with terrestrial carnivores and Clade II was associated with vampire bats. The Clade I isolates were further sub-divided into two groups. The first group was closer to carnivore isolates that predominate in central Brazil, whereas the second group more closely resembled wild fox isolates from the northeastern coastal state of Paraíba (PB). MA isolates of Clade II formed an entirely separate group. These results demonstrate that bat- and dog-transmitted rabies occur in northwestern Brazil.