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    Infectious Disease Prevention Section
    Mail Code: 1927
    PO BOX 149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
    1100 West 49th Street, Suite G401
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: (512) 776-7676
    Fax: (512) 776-7616



image Rabies (Lyssa) ICD-9 071; ICD-10 A82
Related Topics: Oral Rabies Vaccine Programs

Reference Laboratory for Rabies Virus Typing

The genetic typing capabilities in our laboratory have been expanded over the last 5 years to place us at the leading edge of DNA technology. This expansion has occurred mainly, in part, due to the necessity of the Oral Rabies Vaccination Program (ORVP). Epidemiologic monitoring of rabies virus variants is crucial to map the epizootic "fronts," to assist the ORVP in targeting flight patterns for dispersal of recombinant rabies vaccine-laden baits for the coyote and fox epizootics, to identify translocations, and to investigate historical perspectives of the different ecotypes. It is also important to note that specimen turn-around time for epidemiology has been reduced due to this capability.

A much broader goal that has happened, concomitantly with the ORVP, is the establishment of the Texas Department of Health (TDH) rabies laboratory, with the cooperation of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), as a regional reference site which would provide the following: (1) identification of the numerous variants associated with Texas and surrounding states (2) creation of an active surveillance system along the Texas-Mexico border and (3) act as a training site for traditional and molecular epidemiology. By accomplishing these goals, molecular epidemiology will continue to demonstrate that genetic typing is a powerful investigative and discriminatory tool.

The TDH continues to benefit greatly by being recognized as one of the only agencies, outside the CDC, that can routinely provide these regional services. The collaboration with the CDC will establish a vital complement for the flow of national surveillance data by providing surveillance activities to include molecular typing of virus samples from surrounding states. In addition, the early detection of translocated rabies variants in to and out of the state of Texas could potentially avert new epizootics by recognizing when established reservoirs enlarge or expand into new areas or when different animal species become involved in cycles of rabies virus transmission.

Last updated April 17, 2019