Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hope for a rabies eradication strategy in Africa

21.01.2009
Most of the rabies virus circulating in dogs in western and central Africa comes from a common ancestor introduced to the continent around 200 years ago, probably by European colonialists.

In the current issue of Journal of General Virology a team of scientists from Africa, USA and France report that within this common ancestry there are distinct subspecies at country level and that there is only limited movement of virus between localities.

These factors mean that, if neighbouring countries collaborate, a progressive strategy to eliminate rabies from this area of sub-Saharan Africa is possible.

Rabies causes over 24,000 deaths a year in Africa, mostly in poor rural communities and of children. Rabies prevention and treatment are costly and the necessary resources often scarce or inadequate. Controlling rabies in dogs, the main agents of rabies spread, is therefore an important part of any rabies eradication programme.

The team analysed 182 samples of dog rabies virus from 27 African countries taken over a time period of 29 years. Their analyses showed that the samples were of two types, which they call "Africa 1" and “Africa 2” with different geographical distribution and history, indicating a clear distinction between rabies viruses circulating in North Africa and those circulating in West/Central Africa. It appeared that “Africa 2” was introduced into the eastern part of West/Central Africa – probably in Chad – around 200 years ago and from there spread over the whole region, moving westwards and southwards, over a 100-year period. This spread follows the pattern of French colonial expansion in Africa. Distinct subpopulations of the virus exist in the different African countries and there is very little evidence that there is much movement of the virus among localities.

Dr Hervé Bourhy, from the Institut Pasteur in Paris who led the research said:

“Some scientists have suggested that rabies outbreaks in Africa might be caused by “superspreader” dogs, transmitting the disease over large distances. Our findings show that this is extremely unlikely as there is strong geographical clustering of the dog rabies subspecies and the time-scale for diffusion of the virus is measured in decades. Similarly, people transporting dogs, some of them eventually becoming infectious or in incubation, over this vast region does not seem to have had much, if any, impact on the spread of disease”.

Chiraz Talbi, the researcher who carried out the analysis, added: “Rabies kills a patient, most often a child, every 20 minutes in Africa. By identifying the species of the virus that is the most prevalent and demonstrating how it spreads through the region, we have shown that, with collaboration, it should be possible for African countries to eliminate rabies by controlling dog rabies”.

Dianne Stilwell | alfa
Further information:
http://jgv.sgmjournals.org/misc/direct.shtml
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>