Phylogenetic analysis and victim contact tracing of rabies virus from humans and dogs in Bali, Indonesia

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Abstract

SUMMARY

The emergence of human and animal rabies in Bali since November 2008 has attracted local, national and international interest. The potential origin and time of introduction of rabies virus to Bali is described. The nucleoprotein (N) gene of rabies virus from dog brain and human clinical specimens was sequenced using an automated DNA sequencer. Phylogenetic inference with Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) analysis using the Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis by Sampling Trees (BEAST) v. 1.7.5 software confirmed that the outbreak of rabies in Bali was caused by an Indonesian lineage virus following a single introduction. The ancestor of Bali viruses was the descendant of a virus from Kalimantan. Contact tracing showed that the event most likely occurred in early 2008. The introduction of rabies into a large unvaccinated dog population in Bali clearly demonstrates the risk of disease transmission for government agencies and should lead to an increased preparedness and efforts for sustained risk reduction to prevent such events from occurring in future.

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