Glycoprotein-G-gene-based molecular and phylogenetic analysis of rabies viruses associated with a large outbreak of bovine rabies in southern Brazil. Academic Article uri icon


  • A large outbreak of hematophagous-bat-associated bovine rabies has been occurring in Rio Grande do Sul (RS), the southernmost Brazilian state, since 2011, with official estimates exceeding 50,000 cattle deaths. The present article describes a genetic characterization of rabies virus (RABV) recovered from 59 affected cattle and two sheep, from 56 herds in 16 municipalities (2012-2016). Molecular analysis was performed using the nucleotide (nt) and predicted amino acid (aa) sequences of RABV glycoprotein G (G). A high level of nt and aa sequence identity was observed among the examined G sequences, ranging from 98.4 to 100%, and from 97.3 to 100%, respectively. Likewise, high levels of nt and aa sequence identity were observed with bovine (nt, 99.8%; aa, 99.8%) and hematophagous bat (nt, 99.5%; aa, 99.4%) RABV sequences from GenBank, and lower levels were observed with carnivore RABV sequences (nt, 92.8%; aa, 88.1%). Some random mutations were observed in the analyzed sequences, and a few consistent mutations were observed in some sequences belonging to cluster 2, subcluster 2b. The clustering of the sequences was observed in a phylogenetic tree, where two distinct clusters were evident. Cluster 1 comprised RABV sequences covering the entire study period (2012 to 2016), but subclusters corresponding to different years could be identified, indicating virus evolution and/or introduction of new viruses into the population. In some cases, viruses from the same location obtained within a short period grouped into different subclusters, suggesting co-circulation of viruses of different origins. Subcluster segregation was also observed in sequences obtained in the same region during different periods, indicating the involvement of different viruses in the cases at different times. In summary, our results indicate that the outbreaks occurring in RS (2012 to 2016) probably involved RABV of different origins, in addition to a possible evolution of RABV isolates within this period.

published proceedings

  • Arch Virol

author list (cited authors)

  • Cargnelutti, J. F., de Quadros, J. M., Martins, M., Batista, H., Weiblen, R., & Flores, E. F.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Cargnelutti, Juliana F||de Quadros, João M||Martins, Mathias||Batista, Helena BCR||Weiblen, Rudi||Flores, Eduardo F

publication date

  • December 2017