Rabies virus was isolated from the brain of a Chinese ferret badger ( Melogale moschata ) and identified as having an R333Q substitution within its glycoprotein antigenic site III. Additionally, compared with vaccine strains and other rabies virus isolates from dogs and ferret badgers in China, the isolate had five other amino acid substitutions in its glycoprotein: P(-17)L in the signal peptide, R88H, L225M, and D422E in the ectoplasmic region, and G478E in the cytoplasmic region. This isolate possessed high virulence in suckling, weanling and adult mice. These data indicate that this is a unique rabies virus with a molecular signature that differentiates it from other strains circulating in terrestrial mammals in China. We propose that rabies virus circulates in some ferret badgers in an independent epidemiological cycle unique to China following spillover from domestic dogs or other hosts infected with rabies.
Virus Research – Elsevier
Published: May 1, 2010
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