Phylogenetic comparison of rabies viruses from disease outbreaks on the Svalbard Islands

Johnson, N.; Dicker, A.; Mork, T.; Marston, D.A.; Fooks, A.R.; Tryland, M.; Fuglei, E.; Müller, Thomas GND

Periodic wildlife rabies epizootics occur in Arctic regions. The original sources of these outbreaks are rarely identified. In 1980, a wildlife epizootic of rabies occurred on the previously rabies-free Svalbard Islands, Norway. After this outbreak of rabies in the arctic fox population (Alopex lagopus), only single cases have been reported from the Islands over the following two decades. Phylogenetic characterization of four viruses isolated from infected arctic foxes from Svalbard from three different time periods suggest that the source of these epizootics could have been migration of this species from the Russian mainland. Arctic fox migration has likely contributed to the establishment of another zoonotic disease, Echinococcus multilocularis, on Svalbard in recent years

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Johnson, N. / Dicker, A. / Mork, T. / et al: Phylogenetic comparison of rabies viruses from disease outbreaks on the Svalbard Islands. 2007.

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