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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2023, Vol. 22 Issue (4): 1266-1275    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.11.011
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Molecular epidemiological study of animal rabies in Kazakhstan
Gulzhan N. YESSEMBEKOVA1*, XIAO Shuang2*, Assem ABENOV1, Talgat KARIBAEV3, Alexandr SHEVTSOV4, Amirgazin ASYLULAN4, Yersyn Y. MUKHANBETKALIYEV1, SHUAI Lei2#, BU Zhi-gao2#, Sarsenbay K. ABDRAKHMANOV1#

1 S. Seifullin Kazakh Agro Technical University, Nur-Sultan 010011, Kazakhstan

2 State Key Laboratory for Animal Disease Control and Prevention, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Harbin 150069, P.R.China

3 National Reference Center for Veterinary Medicine, Center for Biotechnology, Nur-Sultan 010000, Kazakhstan

4 National Center for Biotechnology, Nur-Sultan 010000, Kazakhstan

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Rabies is a serious public health issue in Kazakhstan, with high economic impact and social burden.  As part of a routine surveillance, 31 rabies-positive brain specimens taken from livestock (cattle) and carnivores (dogs, foxes, and cats) during 2013–2021 were subject to viral sequencing.  Phylogenetic and Bayesian analysis were performed using obtained rabies virus (RABV) sequences.  All 31 strains of RABV candidate belonged to the Cosmopolitan clade, of which 30 strains belonged to steppe-type subclade, and 1 dog strain belonged to Other subclade.  The 31 strains did not diverge from RABV strains in Kazakhstan and neighboring countries, including Russia, Mongolia, and China, suggesting that animal rabies has close relationship and transmission between borders.  Fox-originated strains and cattle strains shared similar sequence signature, and some animal rabies cases had space–time intersection, showing that infected foxes were a major transmission source of cattle rabies in different Kazakhstan regions.  Besides, free-roaming dogs played a pivotal role in rabies epizootics of cattle in Kazakhstan.  The recent spread of animal rabies presents an increasing threat to public health, and provides updated information for improving current control and prevention strategies at the source for Kazakhstan and neighboring countries.

Keywords:  rabies       livestock        carnivores        phylogenetic analysis   
Received: 15 September 2022   Accepted: 23 November 2022

This work was supported by the Science Committee of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan (AR08053353) and the National Key Research Program and Developments of China (2020YFE0203400).

About author:  Gulzhan N. YESSEMBEKOVA, E-mail:; XIAO Shuang, E-mail:; #Correspondence Sarsenbay K. ABDRAKHMANOV, E-mail:; BU Zhi-gao, E-mail:; SHUAI Lei, E-mail: * These authors contributed equally to this study.

Cite this article: 

Gulzhan N. YESSEMBEKOVA, XIAO Shuang, Assem ABENOV, Talgat KARIBAEV, Alexandr SHEVTSOV, Amirgazin ASYLULAN, Yersyn Y. MUKHANBETKALIYEV, SHUAI Lei, BU Zhi-gao, Sarsenbay K. ABDRAKHMANOV. 2023. Molecular epidemiological study of animal rabies in Kazakhstan. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 22(4): 1266-1275.

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