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”.
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University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
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