[Molecular epidemiology of rabies epizootics in Colombia, 1994-2002: evidence of human and canine rabies associated with chiroptera].Biomedica. 2003 Mar; 23(1):19-30.B
Three urban rabies outbreaks have been reported in Colombia during the last two decades, one of which is ongoing in the Caribbean region (northern Colombia). The earlier outbreaks occurred almost simultaneously in Arauca (eastern Colombia) and in the Central region, ending in 1997. Phylogenetic relationships among rabies viruses isolated from the three areas were based on a comparison of cDNA fragments coding for the endodomain of protein G and a fragment of L protein obtained by RT-PCR. The sequenced amplicons which included the G-L intergenic region contained 902 base pairs. Phylogenetic analysis showed three distinct groups of viruses. Colombian genetic variant I viruses were isolated only from Arauca and the Central region, but are now apparently extinct. Colombian genetic variant II viruses were isolated in the Caribbean region and are still being transmitted in that area. The third group of bat rabies variants were isolated from two insectivorous bats, three domestic dogs and a human. This associates bat rabies virus with rabies in Colombian dogs and humans, and indicates bats to be a rabies reservoir of public health significance.