Despite a long history of dog-transmitted human rabies outbreaks in Liberia, West Africa, no reports exist of molecular characterisation of the causative lyssaviruses. This study investigated Rabies lyssavirus (RABV) strains isolated at the dog–human interface in Monrovia, Liberia 2016 and 2017, by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, using primers specific for the nucleoprotein (N) gene. Out of 20 specimens (19 dog brain samples and one human saliva) tested as suspected rabies cases, three (15%) were positive. Purified amplicons from all three positive specimens were sequenced in both forward and reverse directions. Phylogenetic analysis was conducted in MEGA7 and PhyML3 to determine their relationship with RABV sequences accessioned in NCBI GenBank. The first of three RABV strains detected clustered with China lineage 2 RABVs of dogs (99% homology to KU963489 and DQ666322). The second strain segregated with Africa lineage 2 RABVs also of dog origin, and the third strain segregated with Africa lineage 3 RABVs of Southern Africa viverrids. Our results show a transcontinental strain of rabies virus co-circulating with Africa lineages in post-conflict Liberia. This finding should stimulate more effective sub-regional planning and execution of one-health actions, towards stepwise surveillance and elimination of rabies in West Africa by 2030.
Olarinmoye, A. O., Kamara, V., Jomah, N. D., Olugasa, B. O., Ishola, O. O., Kamara, A., & Luka, P. D. (2019). Molecular detection of rabies virus strain with n-gene that clustered with china lineage 2 co-circulating with africa lineages in monrovia, liberia: First reported case in africa. Epidemiology and Infection, 147. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268818003333