ABSTRACT: Since 2004, the main transmitter of human rabies in Latin America has been the vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus). Based on the nucleoprotein of the rabies virus (RV), we analyzed antigenic and genetic profiles of isolates from 29 samples taken from humans living in different areas of the Amazon region. Two isolates were from Ecuador and 27 from the Northern and Northeastern regions of Brazil, which were obtained during outbreaks in various municipalities in the states of Pará and Maranhão in the years 2004 and 2005. The partial N gene (nt 104-1477) of the 29 isolates was sequenced, and the sequences were used to build a neighbor-joining tree with the Kimura-2 parameter model. All 29 human RV isolates were identified as belonging to antigenic variant 3 (AgV3) and were genetically grouped into the D. rotundus cluster, which was divided into two subclusters (A and B), subcluster A in turn being divided into four genetic groups (A1, A2, A3 and A4). Genetic and molecular markers characterizing these genetic lineages were also identified. The results of this study show that the isolates belong to the same rabies cycle as that of the vampire bat D. rotundus. However, the division of clusters within the lineage associated with D. rotundus shows that different genetic sublineages of the virus were circulating in the Amazon region during the study period. Our findings suggest that there are phylogeographic differences between isolates obtained over a short period.
Virus Research 10/2010; 153(1):100-5. · 2.94 Impact Factor