Chapter 8 : Lyssaviruses: beyond Rabies

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Lyssaviruses represent a genus of RNA neurotropic viruses which belong to the family and the order . The chapter discusses virology and pathogenesis of Lyssaviruses. Rabies is responsible for approximately 55,000 human deaths per annum, mostly in Asia and Africa. Although rabies virus has been isolated from most animal orders, dogs are the major vectors and are responsible for the majority of human cases. Bats are the primary reservoirs of rabies virus and are associated with all of the seven lyssavirus species except for genotype 3, Mokola virus. The majority of cases of human rabies result from a bite from a rabid animal, and the virus is transmitted via animal saliva to human nerve tissue. Diagnosis of a lyssavirus case in humans occurs following a history of exposure and the onset of symptoms. The direct fluorescence antibody test (FAT) uses fluorescently labeled anti-Nprotein antibodies to detect antigen on cornea impressions and in nuchal skin biopsies. The majority of patients have the encephalitic form, with fever, hypersalivation, phobic spasms, fluctuating consciousness, convulsions, coma, and death within days to weeks, depending on the availability of supportive medical care. Preexposure prophylaxis is recommended for people at occupational risk and travelers to areas of endemicity. Postexposure prophylaxis involves wound care and administration of RIG and vaccine. The knowledge of the biology of lyssaviruses has increased enormously, particularly in relation to viral proteins and their roles in virulence and pathogenesis. There is a better understanding regarding the potential and importance of preventive measures.

Citation: McCormack J, Smith I. 2008. Lyssaviruses: beyond Rabies, p 137-154. In Scheld W, Hammer S, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 8. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815592.ch8
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Image of Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Electron micrograph of negatively stained ABLV. The thin arrows indicate virus where the stain has penetrated the particle, thereby showing the nucleocapsid structures. The thick arrow indicates virus where the stain has not penetrated; the surface structure is shown. C, cell surface where two viruses are budding. Bar = 100 nm. Courtesy of Alex Hyatt, AAHL.

Citation: McCormack J, Smith I. 2008. Lyssaviruses: beyond Rabies, p 137-154. In Scheld W, Hammer S, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 8. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815592.ch8
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Image of Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Phylogenetic analysis of the N protein gene of lyssaviruses. RABV, rabies virus; DUVV, Duvenhage virus; MOKV, Mokola virus; LAGV, Lagos bat virus.

Citation: McCormack J, Smith I. 2008. Lyssaviruses: beyond Rabies, p 137-154. In Scheld W, Hammer S, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 8. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815592.ch8
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Generic image for table
Table 1.

Classification of lyssaviruses

Citation: McCormack J, Smith I. 2008. Lyssaviruses: beyond Rabies, p 137-154. In Scheld W, Hammer S, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 8. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815592.ch8
Generic image for table
Table 2.

Comparison of lyssavirus coding regions and protein gene sizes

Citation: McCormack J, Smith I. 2008. Lyssaviruses: beyond Rabies, p 137-154. In Scheld W, Hammer S, Hughes J (ed), Emerging Infections 8. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815592.ch8

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