Evidence for trans-border movement of rabies by wildlife reservoirs between countries in the Balkan Peninsular
Rabies remains endemic in a number of reservoir species throughout southeast Europe. To investigate the relationship between rabies viruses within this region we have compared rabies virus nucleoprotein sequence data from a diverse panel of rabies samples from Bulgaria with available data from countries in the Balkan Peninsula. This analysis provides a first description of rabies isolates in Bulgaria and suggests that there is evidence for wildlife-mediated movement of rabies with countries to the west of Bulgaria including Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina but no evidence for a link with rabies foci in Turkey. We speculate that natural barriers such as the Balkan mountains may play a significant role in constraining the southerly spread of rabies in southeast Europe.