Novel Sylvatic Rabies Virus Variant in Endangered Golden Palm Civet, Sri Lanka - Vol. 17 No. 12 - December 2011 - Emerging Infectious Disease journal - CDC
Volume 17, Number 12—December 2011
Novel Sylvatic Rabies Virus Variant in Endangered Golden Palm Civet, Sri Lanka
Author affiliations: Oita University, Yufu, Japan (T. Matsumoto, K. Ahmed, A. Nishizono); Medical Research Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka (O. Wimalaratne, S. Nanayakkara, D. Perera, D. Karunanayake)Suggested citation for this article
AbstractInformation is scarce about sylvatic rabies virus in Asia and about rabies in palm civets. We report a novel sylvatic rabies virus variant detected in a golden palm civet in Sri Lanka. Evolutionary analysis suggests the virus diverged from canine rabies viruses in Sri Lanka in ≈1933 (range 1886–1963).
Rabies has been eliminated from domestic animals in industrialized countries, but sylvatic rabies remains an endemic disease. The ecology of rabies in wildlife populations and natural ecosystems is poorly understood (1), and, as a result, eliminating rabies from the wild is difficult. Little is known about sylvatic rabies in developing countries, where rabies takes its biggest toll on humans. Rabies is endemic to Sri Lanka and has been identified in different wild animals. However, all documented cases of rabies in wildlife in Sri Lanka have been considered a consequence of spillover from dogs. Rabies viruses circulating in this country are distinctly highly homogeneous (2,3).
Two species of palm civet are commonly found in Sri Lanka: the common palm civet, Paradoxurus hermaphroditus, which is widespread in southern Asia and Southeast Asia, and the golden palm civet, P. zeylonensis, which is indigenous to Sri Lanka. This species is closely related to the brown palm civet (P. jerdoni), which lives only in southern India (4). Moreover, 3 additional new species have been identified in Sri Lanka: the golden wet-zone palm civet (P. aureus), the golden dry-zone palm civet (P. stenocephalus), and the Sri Lankan brown palm civet (P. montanus) (4). Palm civets in Sri Lanka are, however, endangered because of hunting, parasitic diseases, and dwindling habitat. We report on a sylvatic rabies virus variant detected in a golden palm civet in Sri Lanka.
Suggested citation for this article: Matsumoto T, Ahmed K, Wimalaratne O, Nanayakkara S, Perera D, Karunanayake D, et al. Novel sylvatic rabies virus variant in endangered golden palm civet, Sri Lanka. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2011 Dec [date cited]. http://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1712.110811