Historical records suggest that in South Africa rabies was present in viverrids in the early 1800s. In
the early 1950s a wave of canine rabies spread from Namibia through Botswana into the northern Transvaal
and by 1961 a second front had penetrated south from Mozambique into Swaziland and northern
Natal. Today, rabies is regularly confirmed in a number of canid and viverrid species in most regions
of South Africa. A panel of anti-nucleoprotein monoclonal antibodies was used to examine 83 virus
isolates from these species. Two major reaction patterns, one chiefly confined to viruses from canids
and the other to viruses from viverrids, were obtained. In addition, some variation in the reaction patterns
of viverrid viruses was observed and spill-over of viverrid virus into canids and vice versa was recorded.
Rabies in South Africa appears to behave as two distinct disease entities.
Proceedings of a workshop held at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort, South Africa, 3-5 May 1993
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