The number of wildlife rabies and wildlife-associated human and livestock rabies cases has increased in recent years, particularly in the southeast and northeast regions of mainland China. To better understand wildlife rabies and its role in human and livestock rabies, we reviewed what is known about wildlife rabies from the 1990s to 2013 in mainland China. In addition, the genetic diversity and phylogeny of available wildlife-originated rabies viruses (RABVs) were analyzed. Several wildlife species carry rabies including the bat, Chinese ferret badger, raccoon dog, rat, fox, and wolf. RABVs have been isolated or detected in the bat, Chinese ferret badger, raccoon dog, Apodemus, deer, and vole. Among them, the bat, Chinese ferret badger, and raccoon dog may play a role in the ecology of lyssaviruses in mainland China. All wildlife-originated RABVs were found to belong to genotype 1 RABV except for a bat-originated Irkut virus isolated in 2012. Several substitutions were found between the glycoprotein of wildlife-originated RABVs and vaccine strains. Whether these substitutions could affect the efficacy of currently used vaccines against infections caused by these wildlife-originated RABVs needs to be investigated further. Phylogenetic analysis showed that RABVs in the bat, Chinese ferret badger, and raccoon dog were distinct from local dog-originated RABVs, and almost all collected wildlife-originated isolates were associated with older China clades II to V, suggesting the possibility of wildlife reservoirs in mainland China through the ages.
LiHua, W., Qing, T., & GuoDong, L. (2014). Rabies and rabies virus in wildlife in mainland China, 1990-2013. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. Oxford. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1201971214015124