Public Veterinary Medicine: Public Health Rabies virus variants identified in Nuevo Leon State, Mexico, from 2008 to 2015

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2020 Feb 15;256(4):438-443. doi: 10.2460/javma.256.4.438.


Objective: To identify rabies virus variants (RVVs) isolated from bats and terrestrial mammals in Nuevo Leon between 2008 and 2015 and Coahuila in 2006.

Sample: RVVs isolated from 15 bats and terrestrial mammals in Nuevo Leon and from a cow (Bos taurus) in Coahuila, along with 46 reference rabies virus sequences.

Procedures: Antigenic characterization of the 16 isolates was performed with an indirect fluorescent antibody technique. Genomic sequencing of the nucleoprotein gene in the 16 isolates was performed with a reverse transcription PCR assay. Phylogenetic reconstruction of the 62 sequences was performed by means of Bayesian inference.

Results: 9 isolates from bats and 1 isolate from a domestic cat that became infected as a result of contact with a Mexican free-tailed bat all clustered in the lineage associated with Lasiurus spp in the Americas or the lineage associated with Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana. An isolate from a domestic dog was identified as a variant associated with the dog-coyote lineage. The RVV isolated from a fox clustered in an Arizona fox lineage. The 3 RVVs from skunks (Mephitis macroura) were placed in a lineage with variants isolated from spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius). The RVV isolated from the cow was clustered in a lineage associated with foxes in Texas and separate from the lineage for the fox from Nuevo Leon.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results reinforced the need for Mexico to implement rabies surveillance and monitoring programs for bats and wild-living terrestrial carnivores.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arizona
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Cats
  • Cattle
  • Chiroptera*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Mexico
  • Phylogeny
  • Public Health
  • Rabies / veterinary*
  • Rabies virus*
  • Texas