Conference abstract

Evolution and transmission of rabies in post-conflict Liberia: a peep through the window of phylogenetics

Pan African Medical Journal - Conference Proceedings. 2019:10(18).27 Dec 2019.
doi: 10.11604/pamj-cp.2019.10.18.859

Contact the corresponding author
Keywords: Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny, rabies virus, Liberia
Oral presentation

Evolution and transmission of rabies in post-conflict Liberia: a peep through the window of phylogenetics

Ayodeji Olarinmoye1,2,3,&, Oluwagbenga Adeola1,4, Oluwagbenga Adeola1,2,5, Varney Kamara6, Babasola Olugasa1,2

1Centre for Control and Prevention of Zoonoses, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, 2Department of Veterinary Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria, 3Engineer Abdullah Bugshan Research Chair for Dental and Oral Rehabilitation (DOR), College of Dentistry, King Saud University, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 4Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Bingham University, Karu, via Abuja, Nigeria, 5Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI), Suakoko, Bong County, Liberia, 6Ministry of Agriculture, Leon Quest Ledlum Central Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Fendel, Monrovia, Liberia

&Corresponding author
Ayodeji Olarinmoye, Centre for Control and Prevention of Zoonoses, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Abstract

Introduction: in post-conflict Liberia, there has been recurrence of dog-related human rabies outbreaks. The origin and transmission of rabies and rabies-related viruses circulating in domestic dogs in Liberia need to be elucidated. This study was conducted to determine the phylogenetics of rabies viruses detected among domestic dogs in Monrovia, Liberia in 2016 and 2017.

Methods: brain specimens from 19 suspected rabid dogs from Monrovia, Liberia were tested by RT-PCR for the presence of rabies virus, using primers specific for the nucleoprotein (N) gene. Purified amplicons from positive specimens were sequenced in both forward and reverse directions, and phylogenetic analysis was conducted to determine the relationships between N-gene sequences of identified viruses and those previously detected in Africa and other parts of the world available in GenBank.

Results: three of the 19 brain specimens tested were positive. The N-gene sequence of one of these viruses clustered with China lineage 2 (C2) RABV strains of canine origin. This Monrovia rabies virus strain had 99% homogeneity with the C2 RABV strains. Another Monrovia strain from this study segregated with Africa lineage 2 RABV, while the third virus segregated with Africa lineage 3 RABV previously reported only in Southern Africa viverrids.

Conclusion: these findings suggest that wildlife rabies and transnational/transcontinental movements of domestic and exotic pets may play crucial roles in the evolution of rabies in Liberia. There is an urgent need for more effective collaborations among human and animal health authorities, and relevant government parastatals, for prevention and control of rabies in Liberia.