Molecular Epidemiology of Rabies Viruses Circulating in Two Rabies Endemic Provinces of Laos, 2011–2012: Regional Diversity in Southeast Asia
Dog vaccination and population management have been suggested as priorities in attempts at disease control in canine rabies-endemic countries. Budget limitations and the complexity of social, cultural and religious variables have complicated progress in the developing world. In Bangkok, Thailand, an intensive canine vaccination and sterilization programme has been in place since November 2002. Our objective was to determine if the rabies virus could be mapped according to its genetic variations and geographical location on the small localized scale of Bangkok and its surrounding provinces. Phylogenetic characterization of 69 samples from Bangkok and five neighbouring and two remote provinces, by limited sequence analysis of the rabies virus nucleoprotein gene, distinguished six different clades. Rabies viruses of four clades were intermixed in Bangkok and in the surrounding highly populated regions whereas the other two clades were confined to rural and less populated provinces. Such a complex pattern of gene flow, particularly in Bangkok, may affect the outcome of canine control programmes.