Original Research

Enhanced diagnosis of rabies and molecular evidence for the transboundary spread of the disease in Mozambique

Andre Coetzer, Iolanda Anahory, Paula T. Dias, Claude T. Sabeta, Terence P. Scott, Wanda Markotter, Louis H. Nel
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 88 | a1397 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v88i0.1397 | © 2017 Andre Coetzer, Iolanda Anahory, Paula T. Dias, Claude T. Sabeta, Terence P. Scott, Wanda Markotter, Louis H. Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 February 2016 | Published: 24 March 2017

About the author(s)

Andre Coetzer, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Iolanda Anahory, Central Veterinary Laboratory, Directorate of Animal Science, Mozambique
Paula T. Dias, Central Veterinary Laboratory, Directorate of Animal Science, Mozambique
Claude T. Sabeta, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, Rabies Division, South Africa
Terence P. Scott, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Wanda Markotter, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Louis H. Nel, Department of Microbiology and Plant Pathology, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Rabies is a neglected zoonotic disease with veterinary and public health significance, particularly in Africa and Asia. The current knowledge of the epidemiology of rabies in Mozambique is limited because of inadequate sample submission, constrained diagnostic capabilities and a lack of molecular epidemiological research. We wanted to consider the direct, rapid immunohistochemical test (DRIT) as an alternative to the direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) for rabies diagnosis at the diagnostic laboratory of the Central Veterinary Laboratory (CVL), Directorate of Animal Science, Maputo, Mozambique. Towards this aim, as a training exercise at the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Rabies Reference Laboratory in South Africa, we performed the DRIT on 29 rabies samples from across Mozambique. With the use of the DRIT, we found 15 of the 29 samples (52%) to be negative. The DRIT-negative samples were retested by DFA at the OIE Rabies Reference Laboratory, as well as with an established real-time Polymerase chain reaction, confirming the DRIT-negative results. The DRIT-positive results (14/29) were retested with the DFA and subsequently amplified, sequenced and subjected to phylogenetic analyses, confirming the presence of rabies RNA. Molecular epidemiological analyses that included viruses from neighbouring countries suggested that rabies cycles within Mozambique might be implicated in multiple instances of cross-border transmission. In this regard, our study has provided new insights that should be helpful in informing the next steps required to better diagnose, control and hopefully eliminate rabies in Mozambique.

Keywords

rabies epidemiology; rabies diagnostics; trans-boundary disease; southern Africa

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Crossref Citations

1. Additional Progress in the Development and Application of a Direct, Rapid Immunohistochemical Test for Rabies Diagnosis
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doi: 10.3390/vetsci5020059