To identify rabies virus variants (RVVs) isolated from bats and terrestrial mammals in Nuevo Leon between 2008 and 2015 and Coahuila in 2006.
RVVs isolated from 15 bats and terrestrial mammals in Nuevo Leon and from a cow (Bos taurus) in Coahuila, along with 46 reference rabies virus sequences.
Antigenic characterization of the 16 isolates was performed with an indirect fluorescent antibody technique. Genomic sequencing of the nucleoprotein gene in the 16 isolates was performed with a reverse transcription PCR assay. Phylogenetic reconstruction of the 62 sequences was performed by means of Bayesian inference.
9 isolates from bats and 1 isolate from a domestic cat that became infected as a result of contact with a Mexican free-tailed bat all clustered in the lineage associated with Lasiurus spp in the Americas or the lineage associated with Tadarida brasiliensis mexicana. An isolate from a domestic dog was identified as a variant associated with the dog-coyote lineage. The RVV isolated from a fox clustered in an Arizona fox lineage. The 3 RVVs from skunks (Mephitis macroura) were placed in a lineage with variants isolated from spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius). The RVV isolated from the cow was clustered in a lineage associated with foxes in Texas and separate from the lineage for the fox from Nuevo Leon.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results reinforced the need for Mexico to implement rabies surveillance and monitoring programs for bats and wild-living terrestrial carnivores.