Rabies virus

From Dog
Rabies virus as seen under electron microscopy[1]

Rabies virus is a lyssavirus (Rhabdoviridea; ssRNA) responsible for causing canine rabies[2].

Lyssaviruses are usually confined to one major reservoir species in a given geographic area, although spillover to other species is common. Identification of viral strain usually requires monoclonal antibody analysis or genetic sequencing.

Rabies virus maintained by dog-to-dog transmission is termed canine rabies, whereas rabies in a dog as a result of infection with a variant from a different reservoir animal, eg, skunk (or fox), would be referred to as skunk (or fox, etc) rabies in a dog.

Lyssaviruses display a high degree of genetic variability and about 25 strains of the rabies virus have been recognized via PCR[3] in different countries but all belong to the 'cosmopolitan' group (Clade 1 of canine rabies virus - RABV)[4].

Clades recognized include:

  • DRV-Mexico[5]
  • DRV-AH08 (China)[6], DRV-CYN1009D[7]


  1. FCPS
  2. Brunker K et al (2012) Integrating the landscape epidemiology and genetics of RNA viruses: rabies in domestic dogs as a model. Parasitology 20:1-15
  3. Fischer M et al (2012) Perspectives on molecular detection methods of lyssaviruses. Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr 125(5-6):264-271
  4. Li SJ et al (2012) Analysis of the genetic differences in the nucleoprotein between rabies virus and its vaccine strains in Guizhou province from year 2005 to 2010. Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi 46(6):505-509
  5. Zhang G & Fu ZF (2012) Complete genome sequence of a street rabies virus from Mexico. J Virol 86(19):10892-10893
  6. Yu F et al (2012) Complete genome sequence of a street rabies virus isolated from a rabid dog in China. J Virol 86(19):10890-10891
  7. Zhang J et al (2012) The full-length genome analysis of a street rabies virus strain isolated in Yunnan province of China. Virol Sin 27(3):204-213