Molecular Epidemiology of Lyssaviruses in Eurasia
The Lyssavirus genus, a member of the Rhabdoviridae family, consists of seven established related viruses (genotypes 1-7). Rabies cases in Eurasia are principally attributed to three of these genotypes, namely genotype 1 (RABV, classical rabies) and to a lesser extent genotypes 5 and 6 (European bat lyssaviruses type-1 and -2). In addition, four newly identified divergent lyssaviruses have been isolated from insectivorous bats. The molecular diversity of classical rabies viruses (genotype 1, RABV) has been studied at the global level and reference has been made to the existence of a number of European strains in a range of mammalian species. It is accepted that these viruses cluster within a 'Cosmopolitan Lineage' having ancestral roots in Europe in the 17th century before its widespread dispersal to Asia, Africa and the Americas as a result of European exploration and colonization.