Dr Denise Marston

Lecturer (Veterinary Virology and One Health)
I work Monday-Friday for 3-4 hrs each day between 9am and 4pm


Areas of specialism

Veterinary Virology; Virus evolution

My qualifications

PhD (Infectious Diseases)
AIX Marseille University
BSc (Hons) Biological Science (Microbiology)
University of Leicester


In the media


Thomas Mueller, Rainer Hassel, Mark Jago, Siegfried Khaiseb, Jolandie van der Westhuizen, Adriaan Vos, Sten Calvelage, Susanne Fischer, Denise A. Marston, Anthony R. Fooks, Dirk Hoeper, Conrad M. Freuling (2022)Rabies in kudu: Revisited, In: M Kielian, T C Mettenleiter, M J Roossinck (eds.), Advances in virus researchpp. 115-173 Elsevier

Rabies infects all mammals; however, transmission cycles are only maintained in certain bat and carnivore species. The high incidence of rabies in Greater Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) observed in Namibia for over 40 years has led to postulation that independent virus transmission is occurring within this antelope population. We have analysed extensive experimental, epidemiological, phylogeographic and deep sequence data, which collectively refute maintenance of an independent rabies cycle in kudu. As rabies in kudu continues to have a negative impact on the Namibian agricultural sector, measures to protect kudu have been investigated, including the use of a third-generation oral rabies vaccine. Initial results show protection of kudu from rabies infection via the oral route, with an appropriate bait design, different application schedules and vaccination doses further enhancing the immune response. Rabies in kudu is a complex interplay at the wildlife-livestock interface and requires a concerted approach to successfully control.

Frederico Alves, Karin Artursson, Juliette Bloch, Anne Brisabois, Hein Imberechts, Pikka Jokelainen, Roberto La Ragione, Mats Lindblad, Rebecca Litzell Forss, Denise A. Marston, Omid Parvizi, Lena Tuominen, Anna Omazic (2023)A multi-country One Health foodborne outbreak simulation exercise: cross-sectoral cooperation, data sharing and communication, In: Frontiers in public health11pp. 1121522-1121522 Frontiers Media S.A
Kennedy Lushasi, Kirstyn Brunker, Malavika Rajeev, Elaine A Ferguson, Gurdeep Jaswant, Laurie Louise Baker, Roman Biek, Joel Changalucha, Sarah Cleaveland, Anna Czupryna, Anthony R Fooks, Nicodemus J Govella, Daniel T Haydon, Paul C D Johnson, Rudovick Kazwala, Tiziana Lembo, Denise Marston, Msanif Masoud, Matthew Maziku, Eberhard Mbunda, Geofrey Mchau, Ally Z Mohamed, Emmanuel Mpolya, Chanasa Ngeleja, Kija Ng'habi, Hezron Nonga, Kassim Omar, Kristyna Rysava, Maganga Sambo, Lwitiko Sikana, Rachel Steenson, Katie Hampson (2023)Integrating contact tracing and whole-genome sequencing to track the elimination of dog-mediated rabies: An observational and genomic study, In: eLife12

Dog-mediated rabies is endemic across Africa causing thousands of human deaths annually. A One Health approach to rabies is advocated, comprising emergency post-exposure vaccination of bite victims and mass dog vaccination to break the transmission cycle. However, the impacts and cost-effectiveness of these components are difficult to disentangle. We combined contact tracing with whole-genome sequencing to track rabies transmission in the animal reservoir and spillover risk to humans from 2010 to 2020, investigating how the components of a One Health approach reduced the disease burden and eliminated rabies from Pemba Island, Tanzania. With the resulting high-resolution spatiotemporal and genomic data, we inferred transmission chains and estimated case detection. Using a decision tree model, we quantified the public health burden and evaluated the impact and cost-effectiveness of interventions over a 10-year time horizon. We resolved five transmission chains co-circulating on Pemba from 2010 that were all eliminated by May 2014. During this period, rabid dogs, human rabies exposures and deaths all progressively declined following initiation and improved implementation of annual islandwide dog vaccination. We identified two introductions to Pemba in late 2016 that seeded re-emergence after dog vaccination had lapsed. The ensuing outbreak was eliminated in October 2018 through reinstated islandwide dog vaccination. While post-exposure vaccines were projected to be highly cost-effective ($256 per death averted), only dog vaccination interrupts transmission. A combined One Health approach of routine annual dog vaccination together with free post-exposure vaccines for bite victims, rapidly eliminates rabies, is highly cost-effective ($1657 per death averted) and by maintaining rabies freedom prevents over 30 families from suffering traumatic rabid dog bites annually on Pemba island. A One Health approach underpinned by dog vaccination is an efficient, cost-effective, equitable, and feasible approach to rabies elimination, but needs scaling up across connected populations to sustain the benefits of elimination, as seen on Pemba, and for similar progress to be achieved elsewhere. Wellcome [207569/Z/17/Z, 095787/Z/11/Z, 103270/Z/13/Z], the UBS Optimus Foundation, the Department of Health and Human Services of the National Institutes of Health [R01AI141712] and the DELTAS Africa Initiative [Afrique One-ASPIRE/DEL-15-008] comprising a donor consortium of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), the New Partnership for Africa's Development Planning and Coordinating (NEPAD) Agency, Wellcome [107753/A/15/Z], Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Small Grant 2017 [GR000892] and the UK government. The rabies elimination demonstration project from 2010-2015 was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [OPP49679]. Whole-genome sequencing was partially supported from APHA by funding from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Scottish government and Welsh government under projects SEV3500 and SE0421.

Antonia Klein, Anna Fahrion, Stefan Finke, Marina Eyngor, Shiri Novak, Boris Yakobson, Ernest Ngoepe, Baby Phahladira, Claude Sabeta, Paola De Benedictis, Morgane Gourlaouen, Lillian A. Orciari, Pamela A. Yager, Crystal M. Gigante, M. Kimberly Knowles, Christine Fehlner-Gardiner, Alexandre Servat, Florence Cliquet, Denise Marston, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Trudy Johnson, Anthony R. Fooks, Thomas Mueller, Conrad M. Freuling (2020)Further Evidence of Inadequate Quality in Lateral Flow Devices Commercially Offered for the Diagnosis of Rabies, In: Tropical medicine and infectious disease5(1) Mdpi

As a neglected zoonotic disease, rabies causes approximately 5.9 x 10(4) human deaths annually, primarily affecting low- and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa. In those regions, insufficient surveillance is hampering adequate medical intervention and is driving the vicious cycle of neglect. Where resources to provide laboratory disease confirmation are limited, there is a need for user-friendly and low-cost reliable diagnostic tools that do not rely on specialized laboratory facilities. Lateral flow devices (LFD) offer an alternative to conventional diagnostic methods and may strengthen control efforts in low-resource settings. Five different commercially available LFDs were compared in a multi-centered study with respect to their diagnostic sensitivity and their agreement with standard rabies diagnostic techniques. Our evaluation was conducted by several international reference laboratories using a broad panel of samples. The overall sensitivities ranged from 0% up to 62%, depending on the LFD manufacturer, with substantial variation between the different laboratories. Samples with high antigen content and high relative viral load tended to test positive more often in the Anigen/Bionote test, the latter being the one with the best performance. Still, the overall unsatisfactory findings corroborate a previous study and indicate a persistent lack of appropriate test validation and quality control. At present, the tested kits are not suitable for in-field use for rabies diagnosis, especially not for suspect animals where human contact has been identified, as an incorrect negative diagnosis may result in human casualties. This study points out the discrepancy between the enormous need for such a diagnostic tool on the one hand, and on the other hand, a number of already existing tests that are not yet ready for use.

Denise A Marston, Daisy L Jennings, Nikki C MacLaren, Daniel Dorey-Robinson, Anthony R Fooks, Ashley C Banyard, Lorraine M McElhinney (2019)Pan-lyssavirus Real Time RT-PCR for Rabies Diagnosis, In: Journal of visualized experiments2019(149)

Molecular assays are rapid, sensitive and specific, and have become central to diagnosing rabies. PCR based assays have been utilized for decades to confirm rabies diagnosis but have only recently been accepted by the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) as a primary method to detect rabies infection. Real-time RT-PCR assays provide real-time data, and are closed-tube systems, minimizing the risk of contamination during setup. DNA intercalating fluorochrome real-time RT-PCR assays do not require expensive probes, minimizing the cost per sample, and when the primers are designed in conserved regions, assays that are specific across virus genera rather than specific to just one virus species are possible. Here we describe a pan-lyssavirus SYBR real-time RT-PCR assay that detects lyssaviruses across the Lyssavirus genus, including the most divergent viruses IKOV, WCBV and LLEBV. In conjunction with dissociation curve analysis, this assay is sensitive and specific, with the advantage of detecting all lyssavirus species. The assay has been adopted in many diagnostic laboratories with quality assured environments, enabling robust, rapid, sensitive diagnosis of animal and human rabies cases.

Theocharis Tsoleridis, Joseph G Chappell, Okechukwu Onianwa, Denise A Marston, Anthony R Fooks, Elodie Monchatre-Leroy, Gérald Umhang, Marcel A Müller, Jan F Drexler, Christian Drosten, Rachael E Tarlinton, Charles P McClure, Edward C Holmes, Jonathan K Ball (2019)Shared Common Ancestry of Rodent Alphacoronaviruses Sampled Globally, In: Viruses11(2)

The recent discovery of novel alphacoronaviruses (alpha-CoVs) in European and Asian rodents revealed that rodent coronaviruses (CoVs) sampled worldwide formed a discrete phylogenetic group within this genus. To determine the evolutionary history of rodent CoVs in more detail, particularly the relative frequencies of virus-host co-divergence and cross-species transmission, we recovered longer fragments of CoV genomes from previously discovered European rodent alpha-CoVs using a combination of PCR and high-throughput sequencing. Accordingly, the full genome sequence was retrieved from the UK rat coronavirus, along with partial genome sequences from the UK field vole and Poland-resident bank vole CoVs, and a short conserved ORF1b fragment from the French rabbit CoV. Genome and phylogenetic analysis showed that despite their diverse geographic origins, all rodent alpha-CoVs formed a single monophyletic group and shared similar features, such as the same gene constellations, a recombinant beta-CoV spike gene, and similar core transcriptional regulatory sequences (TRS). These data suggest that all rodent alpha CoVs sampled so far originate from a single common ancestor, and that there has likely been a long-term association between alpha CoVs and rodents. Despite this likely antiquity, the phylogenetic pattern of the alpha-CoVs was also suggestive of relatively frequent host-jumping among the different rodent species.

Conrad M. Freuling, Bernd Hoffmann, Melina Fischer, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Denise A. Marston, Anthony R. Fooks, Thomas F. Müller (2014)Chapter Seven - Real-Time Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction for the Demonstration of Lyssavirus Nucleic Acid, In: Current Laboratory Techniques in Rabies Diagnosis, Research and Preventionpp. 75-84 Elsevier Inc

Real-time PCRs have become a de facto standard for the molecular diagnosis of many infectious pathogens. As closed-tube systems, they reduce the possibility of amplicon or cross-contamination that may lead to false positive results. Besides the relatively higher analytical sensitivity in comparison to conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) protocols, the real-time PCR allows for a quantitation of the template RNA. Also, a generally smaller fragment size causes shorter times for the PCR, and without the need for a confirmation as in gel-based assays, the real-time PCR is faster in the turnaround time and allows for a higher throughput. Various assays have been described, and here we present a cascade-like approach whereby initially two independent pan-lyssa RT-PCRs using intercalating dye are applied. The confirmation and further specification can be made using hydrolysis probe-based assays that are specific to the respective lyssavirus species.

Kirstyn Brunker, Gurdeep Jaswant, S M Thumbi, Kennedy Lushasi, Ahmed Lugelo, Anna M Czupryna, Fred Ade, Gati Wambura, Veronicah Chuchu, Rachel Steenson, Chanasa Ngeleja, Criselda Bautista, Daria L Manalo, Ma Ricci R Gomez, Maria Yna Joyce V Chu, Mary Elizabeth Miranda, Maya Kamat, Kristyna Rysava, Jason Espineda, Eva Angelica V Silo, Ariane Mae Aringo, Rona P Bernales, Florencio F Adonay, Michael J Tildesley, Denise A Marston, Daisy L Jennings, Anthony R Fooks, Wenlong Zhu, Luke W Meredith, Sarah C Hill, Radoslaw Poplawski, Robert J Gifford, Joshua B Singer, Mathew Maturi, Athman Mwatondo, Roman Biek, Katie Hampson (2020)Rapid in-country sequencing of whole virus genomes to inform rabies elimination programmes, In: Wellcome open research53

Genomic surveillance is an important aspect of contemporary disease management but has yet to be used routinely to monitor endemic disease transmission and control in low- and middle-income countries. Rabies is an almost invariably fatal viral disease that causes a large public health and economic burden in Asia and Africa, despite being entirely vaccine preventable. With policy efforts now directed towards achieving a global goal of zero dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030, establishing effective surveillance tools is critical. Genomic data can provide important and unique insights into rabies spread and persistence that can direct control efforts. However, capacity for genomic research in low- and middle-income countries is held back by limited laboratory infrastructure, cost, supply chains and other logistical challenges. Here we present and validate an end-to-end workflow to facilitate affordable whole genome sequencing for rabies surveillance utilising nanopore technology. We used this workflow in Kenya, Tanzania and the Philippines to generate rabies virus genomes in two to three days, reducing costs to approximately £60 per genome. This is over half the cost of metagenomic sequencing previously conducted for Tanzanian samples, which involved exporting samples to the UK and a three- to six-month lag time. Ongoing optimization of workflows are likely to reduce these costs further. We also present tools to support routine whole genome sequencing and interpretation for genomic surveillance. Moreover, combined with training workshops to empower scientists in-country, we show that local sequencing capacity can be readily established and sustainable, negating the common misperception that cutting-edge genomic research can only be conducted in high resource laboratories. More generally, we argue that the capacity to harness genomic data is a game-changer for endemic disease surveillance and should precipitate a new wave of researchers from low- and middle-income countries.

Lorraine M. McElhinney, Denise A Marston, Richard J Ellis, Conrad M. Freuling, Thomas F. Müller, Anthony R. Fooks (2014)Chapter Sixteen - Sanger Sequencing of Lyssaviruses, In: Current Laboratory Techniques in Rabies Diagnosis, Research and Preventionpp. 159-170 Elsevier Inc

Sanger dideoxy terminator sequencing was developed by Fred Sanger and colleagues in 1977 and became the most widely used method for virus characterization in the last three decades. More recently, Sanger sequencing has been supplanted by Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods, for the determination of viral genomes. However, the Sanger method continues to be employed for the sequencing of lyssavirus polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products to facilitate virus typing, molecular epidemiological, or evolutionary studies. Sequencing overlapping PCR products (or “Walking the Genome”) by the Sanger method may still be cost effective for small-scale virus genome studies. This chapter outlines the protocols employed to prepare and sequence lyssavirus PCR products by the Sanger method.

Denise A. Marston, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Emma Wise, Richard J. Ellis, Conrad M. Freuling, Thomas F. Müller, Anthony R. Fooks (2014)Chapter Seventeen - Next Generation Sequencing of Lyssaviruses, In: Current Laboratory Techniques in Rabies Diagnosis, Research and Preventionpp. 171-183 Elsevier Inc

With the advent of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies, the ability to quickly generate large amounts of sequence data has revolutionized the genomics field. Most RNA viruses have relatively small genomes in comparison to other organisms and as such, would be expected to easily generate genome sequence data via NGS technologies. However, due to the relatively low abundance of viral RNA in relation to host RNA, RNA viruses have proved relatively difficult to sequence using NGS technologies. Here, we detail a simple, robust methodology, without the use of ultra-centrifugation, filtration or viral enrichment protocols, to prepare RNA from diagnostic clinical tissue samples, cell monolayers and tissue culture supernatant, for subsequent sequencing on the Roche 454 platform.

Ahmed Lugelo, Katie Hampson, Anna Czupryna, Machunde Bigambo, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Denise A. Marston, Rudovick Kazwala, Felix Lankester (2021)Investigating the Efficacy of a Canine Rabies Vaccine Following Storage Outside of the Cold-Chain in a Passive Cooling Device, In: Frontiers in veterinary science8728271pp. 728271-728271 Frontiers Media S.A

Background: Thermostable vaccines greatly improved the reach and impact of large-scale programmes to eliminate infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio, and rinderpest. A study from 2015 demonstrated that the potency of the Nobivac ® Rabies vaccine was not impacted following experimental storage at 30°C for 3 months. Whether the vaccine would remain efficacious following storage under more natural, fluctuating temperature conditions remains unknown. We carried out a randomised controlled non-inferiority trial to compare serological responses in dogs following vaccination with doses stored under cold chain conditions with those stored within a locally made Passive Cooling Device (“Zeepot”) under fluctuating temperature conditions. Materials and Methods: Nobivac ® Rabies vaccine was stored under either cold-chain conditions or within the Zeepot for 2 months. Daily ambient temperatures and temperatures within the Zeepot were recorded every 3 h. Following storage, 412 domestic dogs were randomly assigned to receive either cold-chain or Zeepot stored Nobivac ® Rabies vaccine. Baseline and day 28-post vaccination blood samples were collected. Serological analysis using the Fluorescent Antibody Virus Neutralisation assay was carried out with a threshold of 0.5 IU/ml to determine seroconversion. In addition, the impact of dog Body Condition Score, sex, and age on seroconversion was examined. Results: The serological response of dogs vaccinated using Nobivac ® Rabies vaccine stored within the Zeepot was not inferior to the response of dogs vaccinated using cold-chain stored vaccine (z = 1.1, df = 313, p -value = 0.25). Indeed, the 28-day post-vaccination group geometric mean titre was 1.8 and 2.0 IU/ml for cold-chain vs. non-cold-chain storage, respectively. Moreover, the percentage of dogs that seroconverted in each arm was almost identical (85%). There was a positive linear trend between Body Condition Score (O.R. 2.2, 95% CI: 1.1–5.1) and seroconversion, suggesting dogs of poor condition may not respond as expected to vaccination. Conclusions: Our study demonstrated the potency of Nobivac ® Rabies vaccine is not impacted following storage under elevated fluctuating temperatures within a Zeepot. These results have potentially exciting applications for scaling up mass dog vaccination programmes in low-and-middle income countries, particularly for hard-to-reach populations with limited access to power and cold-chain vaccine storage.

Tom Solomon, Denise Marston, Macpherson Mallewa, Tim Felton, Steve Shaw, Lorraine M McElhinney, Kumar Das, Karen Mansfield, Jane Wainwright, Georges Ng Man Kwong, Anthony R Fooks (2005)Paralytic rabies after a two week holiday in India, In: BMJ : British Medical Journal331(7515)pp. 501-503 BMJ Publishing Group Ltd
Thomas Mueller, H. -J. Baetza, A. Beckert, C. Bunzenthal, J. H. Cox, C. M. Freuling, A. R. Fooks, J. Frost, L. Geue, A. Hoeflechner, D. Marston, A. Neubert, L. Neubert, S. Revilla-Fernandez, E. Vanek, A. Vos, E. Wodak, K. Zimmer, T. C. Mettenleiter (2009)Analysis of vaccine-virus-associated rabies cases in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) after oral rabies vaccination campaigns in Germany and Austria, In: Archives of virology154(7)pp. 1081-1091 Springer Nature

To eradicate rabies in foxes, almost 97 million oral rabies vaccine baits have been distributed in Germany and Austria since 1983 and 1986, respectively. Since 2007, no terrestrial cases have been reported in either country. The most widely used oral rabies vaccine viruses in these countries were SAD (Street Alabama Dufferin) strains, e.g. SAD B19 (53.2%) and SAD P5/88 (44.5%). In this paper, we describe six possible vaccine-virus-associated rabies cases in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) detected during post-vaccination surveillance from 2001 to 2006, involving two different vaccines and different batches. Compared to prototypic vaccine strains, full-genome sequencing revealed between 1 and 5 single nucleotide alterations in the L gene in 5 of 6 SAD isolates, resulting in up to two amino acid substitutions. However, experimental infection of juvenile foxes showed that those mutations had no influence on pathogenicity. The cases described here, coming from geographically widely separated regions, do not represent a spatial cluster. More importantly, enhanced surveillance showed that the vaccine viruses involved did not become established in the red fox population. It seems that the number of reported vaccine virus-associated rabies cases is determined predominantly by the intensity of surveillance after the oral rabies vaccination campaign and not by the selection of strains.

P. R. Wakeley, N. Johnson, L. M. McElhinney, D. Marston, J. Sawyer, A. R. Fooks (2005)Development of a Real-Time, TaqMan Reverse Transcription-PCR Assay for Detection and Differentiation of Lyssavirus Genotypes 1, 5, and 6, In: Journal of clinical microbiology43(6)pp. 2786-2792 American Society for Microbiology

Several reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) methods have been reported for the detection of rabies and rabies-related viruses. These methods invariably involve multiple transfers of nucleic acids between different tubes, with the risk of contamination leading to the production of false-positive results. Here we describe a single, closed-tube, nonnested RT-PCR with TaqMan technology that distinguishes between classical rabies virus (genotype 1) and European bat lyssaviruses 1 and 2 (genotypes 5 and 6) in real time. The TaqMan assay is rapid, sensitive, and specific and allows for the genotyping of unknown isolates concomitant with the RT-PCR. The assay can be applied quantitatively and the use of an internal control enables the quality of the isolated template to be assessed. Despite sequence heterogeneity in the N gene between the different genotypes, a universal forward and reverse primer set has been designed, allowing for the simplification of previously described assays. We propose that within a geographically constrained area, this assay will be a useful tool for the detection and differentiation of members of the Lyssavirus genus.

We report the first full-length genomic sequences for European bat lyssavirus type-1 (EBLV-1) and type-2 (EBLV-2). The EBLV-1 genomic sequence was derived from a virus isolated from a serotine bat in Hamburg, Germany, in 1968 and the EBLV-2 sequence was derived from a virus isolate from a human case of rabies that occurred in Scotland in 2002. A long-distance PCR strategy was used to amplify the open reading frames (ORFs), followed by standard and modified RACE (rapid amplification of cDNA ends) techniques to amplify the 3′ and 5′ ends. The lengths of each complete viral genome for EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 were 11 966 and 11 930 base pairs, respectively, and follow the standard rhabdovirus genome organization of five viral proteins. Comparison with other lyssavirus sequences demonstrates variation in degrees of homology, with the genomic termini showing a high degree of complementarity. The nucleoprotein was the most conserved, both intra- and intergenotypically, followed by the polymerase (L), matrix and glyco- proteins, with the phosphoprotein being the most variable. In addition, we have shown that the two EBLVs utilize a conserved transcription termination and polyadenylation (TTP) motif, approximately 50 nt upstream of the L gene start codon. All available lyssavirus sequences to date, with the exception of Pasteur virus (PV) and PV-derived isolates, use the second TTP site. This observation may explain differences in pathogenicity between lyssavirus strains, dependent on the length of the untranslated region, which might affect transcriptional activity and RNA stability.

Janine F. R. Seetahal, Andres Velasco-Villa, Orchid M. Allicock, Abiodun A. Adesiyun, Joseph Bissessar, Kirk Amour, Annmarie Phillip-Hosein, Denise A. Marston, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Mang Shi, Cheryl-Ann Wharwood, Anthony R. Fooks, Christine V. F. Carrington (2013)Evolutionary History and Phylogeography of Rabies Viruses Associated with Outbreaks in Trinidad, In: PLoS neglected tropical diseases7(8)pp. e2365-e2365 Public Library Science

Bat rabies is an emerging disease of public health significance in the Americas. The Caribbean island of Trinidad experiences periodic outbreaks within the livestock population. We performed molecular characterisation of Trinidad rabies virus (RABV) and used a Bayesian phylogeographic approach to investigate the extent to which outbreaks are a result of in situ evolution versus importation of virus from the nearby South American mainland. Trinidadian RABV sequences were confirmed as bat variant and clustered with Desmodus rotundus (vampire bat) related sequences. They fell into two largely temporally defined lineages designated Trinidad I and II. The Trinidad I lineage which included sequences from 1997-2000 (all but two of which were from the northeast of the island) was most closely related to RABV from Ecuador (2005, 2007), French Guiana (1990) and Venezuela (1993, 1994). Trinidad II comprised sequences from the southwest of the island, which clustered into two groups: Trinidad IIa, which included one sequence each from 2000 and 2007, and Trinidad IIb including all 2010 sequences. The Trinidad II sequences were most closely related to sequences from Brazil (1999, 2004) and Uruguay (2007, 2008). Phylogeographic analyses support three separate RABV introductions from the mainland from which each of the three Trinidadian lineages arose. The estimated dates for the introductions and subsequent lineage expansions suggest periods of in situ evolution within Trinidad following each introduction. These data also indicate co-circulation of Trinidad lineage I and IIa during 2000. In light of these findings and the likely vampire bat origin of Trinidadian RABV, further studies should be conducted to investigate the relationship between RABV spatiotemporal dynamics and vampire bat population ecology, in particular any movement between the mainland and Trinidad.

Dennis Hanke, Conrad M. Freuling, Susanne Fischer, Karsten Hueffer, Kris Hundertmark, Susan Nadin-Davis, Denise Marston, Anthony R. Fooks, Anette Botner, Thomas C. Mettenleiter, Martin Beer, Thomas B. Rasmussen, Thomas F. Mueller, Dirk Hoeper (2016)Spatio-temporal Analysis of the Genetic Diversity of Arctic Rabies Viruses and Their Reservoir Hosts in Greenland, In: PLoS neglected tropical diseases10(7)pp. e0004779-e0004779 Public Library Science

There has been limited knowledge on spatio-temporal epidemiology of zoonotic arctic fox rabies among countries bordering the Arctic, in particular Greenland. Previous molecular epidemiological studies have suggested the occurrence of one particular arctic rabies virus (RABV) lineage (arctic-3), but have been limited by a low number of available samples preventing in-depth high resolution phylogenetic analysis of RABVs at that time. However, an improved knowledge of the evolution, at a molecular level, of the circulating RABVs and a better understanding of the historical perspective of the disease in Greenland is necessary for better direct control measures on the island. These issues have been addressed by investigating the spatio-temporal genetic diversity of arctic RABVs and their reservoir host, the arctic fox, in Greenland using both full and partial genome sequences. Using a unique set of 79 arctic RABV full genome sequences from Greenland, Canada, USA (Alaska) and Russia obtained between 1977 and 2014, a description of the historic context in relation to the genetic diversity of currently circulating RABV in Greenland and neighboring Canadian Northern territories has been provided. The phylogenetic analysis confirmed delineation into four major arctic RABV lineages (arctic 1-4) with viruses from Greenland exclusively grouping into the circumpolar arctic-3 lineage. High resolution analysis enabled distinction of seven geographically distinct subclades (3.I-3.VII) with two subclades containing viruses from both Greenland and Canada. By combining analysis of full length RABV genome sequences and host derived sequences encoding mitochondrial proteins obtained simultaneously from brain tissues of 49 arctic foxes, the interaction of viruses and their hosts was explored in detail. Such an approach can serve as a blueprint for analysis of infectious disease dynamics and virus-host interdependencies. The results showed a fine-scale spatial population structure in Greenland arctic foxes based on mitochondrial sequences, but provided no evidence for independent isolated evolutionary development of RABV in different arctic fox lineages. These data are invaluable to support future initiatives for arctic fox rabies control and elimination in Greenland.

Jan Salomonsen, John A Chattaway, Andrew C Y Chan, Aimée Parker, Samuel Huguet, Denise A Marston, Sally L Rogers, Zhiguang Wu, Adrian L Smith, Karen Staines, Colin Butter, Patricia Riegert, Olli Vainio, Line Nielsen, Bernd Kaspers, Darren K Griffin, Fengtang Yang, Rima Zoorob, Francois Guillemot, Charles Auffray, Stephan Beck, Karsten Skjødt, Jim Kaufman (2014)Sequence of a complete chicken BG haplotype shows dynamic expansion and contraction of two gene lineages with particular expression patterns, In: PLoS genetics10(6)pp. e1004417-e1004417

Many genes important in immunity are found as multigene families. The butyrophilin genes are members of the B7 family, playing diverse roles in co-regulation and perhaps in antigen presentation. In humans, a fixed number of butyrophilin genes are found in and around the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), and show striking association with particular autoimmune diseases. In chickens, BG genes encode homologues with somewhat different domain organisation. Only a few BG genes have been characterised, one involved in actin-myosin interaction in the intestinal brush border, and another implicated in resistance to viral diseases. We characterise all BG genes in B12 chickens, finding a multigene family organised as tandem repeats in the BG region outside the MHC, a single gene in the MHC (the BF-BL region), and another single gene on a different chromosome. There is a precise cell and tissue expression for each gene, but overall there are two kinds, those expressed by haemopoietic cells and those expressed in tissues (presumably non-haemopoietic cells), correlating with two different kinds of promoters and 5' untranslated regions (5'UTR). However, the multigene family in the BG region contains many hybrid genes, suggesting recombination and/or deletion as major evolutionary forces. We identify BG genes in the chicken whole genome shotgun sequence, as well as by comparison to other haplotypes by fibre fluorescence in situ hybridisation, confirming dynamic expansion and contraction within the BG region. Thus, the BG genes in chickens are undergoing much more rapid evolution compared to their homologues in mammals, for reasons yet to be understood.

S. L. Harris, K. Mansfield, D. A. Marston, N. Johnson, K. Pajamo, N. O'Brien, C. Black, L. M. McElhinney, A. R. Fooks (2007)Isolation of European bat lyssavirus type 2 from a Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) in Shropshire, In: Veterinary record161(11)pp. 384-386
N. Johnson, T. M. Goddard, H. Goharriz, E. Wise, D. Jennings, D. Selden, D. A. Marston, A. C. Banyard, L. M. McElhinney, A. R. Fooks (2016)LYSSAVIRUSES Two EBLV-2 infected Daubenton's bats detected in the north of England, In: Veterinary record179(12)pp. 311-U53 Bmj Publishing Group
Barry Atkinson, Denise A Marston, Richard J Ellis, Anthony R Fooks, Roger Hewson (2015)Complete Genomic Sequence of Issyk-Kul Virus, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)3(4)

Issyk-Kul virus (ISKV) is an ungrouped virus tentatively assigned to the Bunyaviridae family and is associated with an acute febrile illness in several central Asian countries. Using next-generation sequencing technologies, we report here the full-genome sequence for this novel unclassified arboviral pathogen circulating in central Asia.

Denise A. Marston, Emma L. Wise, Richard J. Ellis, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Ashley C. Banyard, Nicholas Johnson, Asefa Deressa, Fekede Regassa, Xavier de lamballerie, Anthony R. Fooks, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri (2015)Complete Genomic Sequence of Rabies Virus from an Ethiopian Wolf, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)3(2) Amer Soc Microbiology

Ethiopian wolves are the rarest canid in the world, with only 500 found in the Ethiopian highlands. Rabies poses the most immediate threat to their survival, causing epizootic cycles of mass mortality. The complete genome sequence of a rabies virus (RABV) derived from an Ethiopian wolf during the most recent epizootic is reported here.

Jan Salomonsen, Denise Marston, David Avila, Nat Bumstead, Brit Johansson, Helle Juul-Madsen, Gerda D Olesen, Patricia Riegert, Karsten Skjødt, Olli Vainio, Michael V Wiles, Jim Kaufman (2003)The properties of the single chicken MHC classical class II alpha chain ( B-LA) gene indicate an ancient origin for the DR/E-like isotype of class II molecules, In: Immunogenetics (New York)55(9)pp. 605-614

In mammals, there are MHC class II molecules with distinctive sequence features, such as the classical isotypes DR, DQ and DP. These particular isotypes have not been reported in non-mammalian vertebrates. We have isolated the class II (B-L) alpha chain from outbred chickens as the basis for the cloning and sequencing of the cDNA. We found only one class II alpha chain transcript, which bears the major features of a classical class II alpha sequence, including the critical peptide-binding residues. The chicken sequence is more similar to human DR than to the DQ, DP, DO or DM isotypes, most significantly in the peptide-binding alpha(1) domain. The cDNA and genomic DNA sequences from chickens of diverse origins show few alleles, which differ in only four nucleotides and one amino acid. In contrast, significant restriction fragment length polymorphism is detected by Southern blot analysis of genomic DNA, suggesting considerable diversity around the gene. Analysis of a large back-cross family indicates that the class II alpha chain locus ( B-LA) is located roughly 5.6 cM from the MHC locus, which encodes the classical class II beta chains. Thus the chicken class II alpha chain gene is like the mammalian DR and E isotypes in three properties: the presence of the critical peptide-binding residues, the low level of polymorphism and sequence diversity, and the recombinational separation from the class II beta chain genes. These results indicate that the sequence features of this lineage are both functionally important and at least 300 million years old.

K.L. Mansfield, V. Racloz, L.M. McElhinney, D.A. Marston, N. Johnson, L. Rønsholt, L.S. Christensen, E. Neuvonen, A.D. Botvinkin, C.E. Rupprecht, A.R. Fooks (2006)Molecular epidemiological study of Arctic rabies virus isolates from Greenland and comparison with isolates from throughout the Arctic and Baltic regions, In: Virus research116(1)pp. 1-10 Elsevier B.V

We report a molecular epidemiological study of rabies in Arctic countries by comparing a panel of novel Greenland isolates to a larger cohort of viral sequences from both Arctic and Baltic regions. Rabies virus isolates originating from wildlife (Arctic/red foxes, raccoon-dogs and reindeer), from domestic animals (dogs/cats) and from two human cases were investigated. The resulting 400 bp N-gene sequences were compared with isolates representing neighbouring Arctic or Baltic countries from North America, the former Soviet Union and Europe. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated similarities between sequences from the Arctic and Arctic-like viruses, which were distinct from rabies isolates originating in the Baltic region of Europe, the Steppes in Russia and from North America. The Arctic-like group consist of isolates from India, Pakistan, southeast Siberia and Japan. The Arctic group was differentiated into two lineages, Arctic 1 and Arctic 2, with good bootstrap support. Arctic 1 is mainly comprised of Canadian isolates with a single fox isolate from Maine in the USA. Arctic 2 was further divided into sub-lineages: 2a/2b. Arctic 2a comprises isolates from the Arctic regions of Yakutia in northeast Siberia and Alaska. Arctic 2b isolates represent a biotype, which is dispersed throughout the Arctic region. The broad distribution of rabies in the Arctic regions including Greenland, Canada and Alaska provides evidence for the movement of rabies across borders.

Jan Salomonsen, Maria Rathmann Sørensen, Denise A. Marston, Sally L. Rogers, Trevor Collen, Andrew van Hateren, Adrian L. Smith, Richard K. Beal, Karsten Skjødt, Jim Kaufman (2005)Two CD1 genes map to the chicken MHC, indicating that CD1 genes are ancient and likely to have been present in the primordial MHC, In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - PNAS102(24)pp. 8668-8673 National Academy of Sciences

CD1 molecules play an important role in the immune system, presenting lipid-containing antigens to T and NKT cells. CD1 genes have long been thought to be as ancient as MHC class I and II genes, based on various arguments, but thus far they have been described only in mammals. Here we describe two CD1 genes in chickens, demonstrating that the CD1 system was present in the last common ancestor of mammals and birds at least 300 million years ago. In phylogenetic analysis, these sequences cluster with CD1 sequences from other species but are not obviously like any particular CD1 isotype. Sequence analysis suggests that the expressed proteins bind hydrophobic molecules and are recycled through intracellular vesicles. RNA expression is strong in lymphoid tissues but weaker to undetectable in some nonlymphoid tissues. Flow cytometry confirms expression from one gene on B cells. Based on Southern blotting and cloning, only two such CD1 genes are detected, located ≈800 nucleotides apart and in the same transcriptional orientation. The sequence of one gene is nearly identical in six chicken lines. By mapping with a backcross family, this gene could not be separated from the chicken MHC on chromosome 16. Mining the draft chicken genome sequence shows that chicken has only these two CD1 genes located ≈50 kb from the classical class I genes. The unexpected location of these genes in the chicken MHC suggests the CD1 system was present in the primordial MHC and is thus ≈600 million years old.

M. Hunter, N. Johnson, S. Hedderwick, C. McCaughey, K. Lowry, J. McConville, B. Herron, S. McQuaid, D. Marston, T. Goddard, G. Harkess, H. Goharriz, K. Voller, T. Solomon, R. E. Willoughby, A. R. Fooks (2010)Immunovirological Correlates in Human Rabies Treated With Therapeutic Coma, In: Journal of medical virology82(7)pp. 1255-1265 Wiley

A 37-year-old woman was admitted to hospital and over the next 5 days developed a progressive encephalitis. Nuchal skin biopsy, analyzed using a Rabies TaqMan(C) PCR, demonstrated rabies virus RNA. She had a history in keeping with exposure to rabies whilst in South Africa, but had not received pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis. She was treated with a therapeutic coma according to the "Milwaukee protocol," which failed to prevent the death of the patient. Rabies virus was isolated from CSF and saliva, and rabies antibody was demonstrated in serum (from day 11 onwards) and cerebrospinal fluid (day 13 onwards). She died on day-35 of hospitalization. Autopsy specimens demonstrated the presence of rabies antigen, viral RNA, and viable rabies virus in the central nervous system. J. Med. Virol. 82:1255-1265,2010. (C) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Melina Fischer, Kerstin Wernike, Conrad M. Freuling, Thomas Mueller, Orhan Aylan, Bernard Brochier, Florence Cliquet, Sonia Vazquez-Moron, Peter Hostnik, Anita Huovilainen, Mats Isaksson, Engbert A. Kooi, Jean Mooney, Mihai Turcitu, Thomas B. Rasmussen, Sandra Revilla-Fernandez, Marcin Smreczak, Anthony R. Fooks, Denise A. Marston, Martin Beer, Bernd Hoffmann (2013)Step Forward in Molecular Diagnostics of Lyssaviruses - Results of a Ring Trial among European Laboratories, In: PloS one8(3)pp. e58372-e58372 Public Library Science

Rabies is a lethal and notifiable zoonotic disease for which diagnostics have to meet the highest standards. In recent years, an evolution was especially seen in molecular diagnostics with a wide variety of different detection methods published. Therefore, a first international ring trial specifically designed on the use of reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of lyssavirus genomic RNA was organized. The trial focussed on assessment and comparison of the performance of conventional and real-time assays. In total, 16 European laboratories participated. All participants were asked to investigate a panel of defined lyssavirus RNAs, consisting of Rabies virus (RABV) and European bat lyssavirus 1 and 2 (EBLV-1 and -2) RNA samples, with systems available in their laboratory. The ring trial allowed the important conclusion that conventional RT-PCR assays were really robust assays tested with a high concordance between different laboratories and assays. The real-time RT-PCR system by Wakeley et al. (2005) in combination with an intercalating dye, and the combined version by Hoffmann and co-workers (2010) showed good sensitivity for the detection of all RABV samples included in this test panel. Furthermore, all used EBLV-specific assays, real-time RT-PCRs as well as conventional RT-PCR systems, were shown to be suitable for a reliable detection of EBLVs. It has to be mentioned that differences were seen in the performance between both the individual RT-PCR systems and the laboratories. Laboratories which used more than one molecular assay for testing the sample panel always concluded a correct sample result. Due to the markedly high genetic diversity of lyssaviruses, the application of different assays in diagnostics is needed to achieve a maximum of diagnostic accuracy. To improve the knowledge about the diagnostic performance proficiency testing at an international level is recommended before using lyssavirus molecular diagnostics e.g. for confirmatory testing.

S. Beck, P. Gunawardena, D. L. Horton, D. J. Hicks, D. A. Marston, A. Ortiz-Pelaez, A. R. Fooks, A. Nunez (2017)Pathobiological investigation of naturally infected canine rabies cases from Sri Lanka, In: BMC veterinary research13(1)pp. 99-99 Springer Nature

Background: The recommended screening of rabies in `suspect' animal cases involves testing fresh brain tissue. The preservation of fresh tissue however can be difficult under field conditions and formalin fixation provides a simple alternative that may allow a confirmatory diagnosis. The occurrence and location of histopathological changes and immunohistochemical (IHC) labelling for rabies in formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) canine brain is described in samples from 57 rabies suspect cases from Sri-Lanka. The presence of Negri bodies and immunohistochemical detection of rabies virus antigen were evaluated in the cortex, hippocampus, cerebellum and brainstem. The effect of autolysis and artefactual degeneration of the tissue was also assessed. Results: Rabies was confirmed in 53 of 57 (93%) cases by IHC. IHC labelling was statistically more abundant in the brainstem. Negri bodies were observed in 32 of 53 (60.4%) of the positive cases. Although tissue degradation had no effect on IHC diagnosis, it was associated with an inability to detect Negri bodies. In 13 cases, a confirmatory Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for rabies virus RNA was undertaken by extracting RNA from fresh frozen tissue, and also attempted using FFPE samples. PCR detection using fresh frozen samples was in agreement with the IHC results. The PCR method from FFPE tissues was suitable for control material but unsuccessful in our field cases. Conclusions: Histopathological examination of the brain is essential to define the differential diagnoses of behaviour modifying conditions in rabies virus negative cases, but it is unreliable as the sole method for rabies diagnosis, particularly where artefactual change has occurred. Formalin fixation and paraffin embedding does not prevent detection of rabies virus via IHC labelling even where artefactual degeneration has occurred. This could represent a pragmatic secondary assay for rabies diagnosis in the field because formalin fixation can prevent sample degeneration. The brain stem was shown to be the site with most viral immunoreactivity; supporting recommended sampling protocols in favour of improved necropsy safety in the field. PCR testing of formalin fixed tissue may be successful in certain circumstances as an alternative test.

Joe Kgaladi, Nicolette Wright, Jessica Coertse, Wanda Markotter, Denise Marston, Anthony R. Fooks, Conrad M. Freuling, Thomas F. Mueller, Claude T. Sabeta, Louis H. Nel (2013)Diversity and Epidemiology of Mokola Virus, In: PLoS neglected tropical diseases7(10)pp. e2511-e2511 Public Library Science

Mokola virus (MOKV) appears to be exclusive to Africa. Although the first isolates were from Nigeria and other Congo basin countries, all reports over the past 20 years have been from southern Africa. Previous phylogenetic studies analyzed few isolates or used partial gene sequence for analysis since limited sequence information is available for MOKV and the isolates were distributed among various laboratories. The complete nucleoprotein, phosphoprotein, matrix and glycoprotein genes of 18 MOKV isolates in various laboratories were sequenced either using partial or full genome sequencing using pyrosequencing and a phylogenetic analysis was undertaken. The results indicated that MOKV isolates from the Republic of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic and Nigeria clustered according to geographic origin irrespective of the genes used for phylogenetic analysis, similar to that observed with Lagos bat virus. A Bayesian Markov-Chain-Monte-Carlo(MCMC) analysis revealed the age of the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of MOKV to be between 279 and 2034 years depending on the genes used. Generally, all MOKV isolates showed a similar pattern at the amino acid sites considered influential for viral properties.

Denise A. Marston, Jemma Watson, Emma L. Wise, Richard J. Ellis, Eric Bedin, Girma Ayalew, Muktar Abute, Xavier de Lamballerie, Anthony R. Fooks, Claudio Sillero-Zubiri, Ashley C. Banyard (2017)Complete Genomic Sequence of Canine Distemper Virus from an Ethiopian Wolf, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)5(29)

ABSTRACT Canine distemper virus (CDV) has been implicated in population declines of wildlife, including many threatened species. Here we present the full genome of CDV from an Ethiopian wolf, Canis simensis , the world’s rarest and most endangered canid.

H. Goharriz, D. A. Marston, F. Sharifzoda, R. J. Ellis, D. L. Horton, T. Khakimov, A. Whatmore, K. Khamroev, A. N. Makhmadshoev, M. Bazarov, A. R. Fooks, A. C. Banyard (2017)First Complete Genomic Sequence of a Rabies Virus from the Republic of Tajikistan Obtained Directly from a Flinders Technology Associates Card, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)5(27) Amer Soc Microbiology

A brain homogenate derived from a rabid dog in the district of Tojiko-bod, Republic of Tajikistan, was applied to a Flinders Technology Associates (FTA) card. A full-genome sequence of rabies virus (RABV) was generated from the FTA card directly without extraction, demonstrating the utility of these cards for readily obtaining genetic data.

Anthony R. Fooks, Denise Marston, Graham Parsons, Daniel Earl, Alison Dicker, Sharon M. Brookes (2006)Isolation of EBLV-2 in a Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) found in Oxfordshire, In: Veterinary record159(16)pp. 534-535
Denise A. Marston, Karen L. Mansfield, Rebecca Mearns, Richard J. Ellis, Anthony R. Fooks, Nicholas Johnson (2013)Louping Ill Virus Genome Sequence Derived from the Spinal Cord of an Infected Lamb, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)1(4) American Society for Microbiology

Louping ill virus (LIV) is a zoonotic virus causing fatal encephalitis in young sheep and grouse. We have recovered the complete genome sequence from a spinal cord sample prepared from a lamb that was naturally infected with LIV. This is only the second LIV genome sequence reported and the first prepared from a clinical sample.

Lutz Geue, Susann Schares, Christina Schnick, Jeannette Kliemt, Aline Beckert, Conrad Freuling, Franz J. Conraths, Bernd Hoffmann, Reto Zanoni, Denise Marston, Lorraine McElhinney, Nicholas Johnson, Anthony R. Fooks, Noel Tordo, Thomas Mueller (2008)Genetic characterisation of attenuated SAD rabies virus strains used for oral vaccination of wildlife, In: Vaccine26(26)pp. 3227-3235 Elsevier

The elimination of rabies from the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Western Europe has been achieved by the oral rabies vaccination (ORV) of wildlife with a range of attenuated rabies Virus Strains. With the exception of the vaccinia rabies glycoprotein recombinant vaccine (VRG), all strains were originally derived from a common ancestor; the Street Alabama Dufferin (SAD) field strain. However, after more than 30 years of ORV it is still not possible to distinguish these vaccine strains and there is little information on the genetic basis for their attenuation. We therefore sequenced and compared the full-length genome of five commercially available SAD vaccine viruses (SAD B19, SAD P5/88, SAG2, SAD VA1 and SAD Bern) and four other SAD strains (the original SAD Bern, SAD VA1, ERA and SAD 1-3670 Wistar). Nucleotide sequencing allowed identifying each vaccine strain unambiguously. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the majority of the currently used commercial attenuated rabies virus vaccines appear to be derived from SAD B19 rather than from SAD Bern. One commercially available vaccine virus did not contain the SAD strain mentioned in the product information of the producer. Two SAD vaccine strains appeared to consist of mixed genomic sequences. Furthermore, in-del events targeting A-rich sequences (in positive strand) within the 3' non-coding regions of M and G genes were observed in SAD-derivates developed in Europe. Our data also supports the idea of a possible recombination that had occurred during the derivation of the European branch of SAD viruses. If confirmed, this recombination event would be the first one reported among RABV vaccine strains. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Denise A Marston, Sonia Vázquez-Morón, Richard J Ellis, Emma L Wise, Lorraine M McElhinney, Xavier de Lamballerie, Anthony R Fooks, Juan E Echevarría (2015)Complete Genomic Sequence of European Bat Lyssavirus 1, Isolated from Eptesicus isabellinus in Spain, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)3(1)

All members of the lyssavirus genus cause the disease rabies. European bat lyssavirus 1 (EBLV-1) viruses are divided genetically into three groups according to geographic location and host reservoir. We report here the first genome sequence for an EBLV-1 isolated from Eptesiscus isabellinus in the Iberian Peninsula, Spain.

N. Johnson, K. L. Mansfield, D. A. Marston, C. Wilson, T. Goddard, D. Selden, G. Hemson, L. Edea, F. van Kesteren, F. Shiferaw, A. E. Stewart, C. Sillero-Zubiri, A. R. Fooks (2010)A new outbreak of rabies in rare Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis), In: Archives of virology155(7)pp. 1175-1177 Springer Nature

Between October 2008 and May 2009, five brain samples from the carcasses of the rare Ethiopian wolf (Canis simenensis) were submitted for rabies virus testing. Rabies virus was detected in all five samples, and this confirmed that a further outbreak of rabies had occurred within the wolf population in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia. Sequence comparison of a partial fragment of the nucleoprotein-coding gene demonstrated that all viruses showed 100% sequence identity, suggesting a single introduction of rabies virus.

Laith N Al-Eitan, Guanghui Wu, Megan Golding, Yue Tang, Hooman Goharriz, Denise A Marston, Anthony R Fooks, Lorraine M McElhinney (2021)Whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of rabies viruses from Jordan, In: PLoS neglected tropical diseases15(5)pp. e0009431-e0009431

Human fatalities caused by rabies are rarely reported in Jordan; however, domestic animals are more likely to fall victim to rabies compared to wild animals, at least this is the case in Jordan due to the presence of canine rabies. In this study, twelve brain samples from domestic and wild animals suspected of being infected with rabies virus from different regions of Jordan were collected during 2019. Seven of them tested positive using the fluorescent antibody test and real-time SYBR RT-PCR assay. Five specimens were from stray dogs and two from foxes. The whole genome sequences were obtained from the positive samples. Sequence analysis showed that one dog virus from Al Quwaysimah city located in Amman governorate, was closely related to an Israeli strain belonging to a Cosmopolitan ME1a clade. The genomes of the remaining six viruses (four from dogs and two from foxes) collected from different areas of Jordan were genetically-related to each other and clustered together with sequences from Iran and Turkey; all belong to Cosmopolitan ME2 clade. These sequences were analyzed with six other Jordanian rabies virus nucleoprotein (N) gene sequences available in the public database, five of them belong to ME1a clade and one belongs to ME1b clade. Rabies virus whole genome data is scarce across the Middle East. This study provides a better understanding of the molecular epidemiology of rabies virus in the region.

David T.S. Hayman, Ashley C. Banyard, Philip R. Wakeley, Graeme Harkess, Denise Marston, James L.N. Wood, Andrew A. Cunningham, Anthony R. Fooks (2011)A universal real-time assay for the detection of Lyssaviruses, In: Journal of virological methods177(1)pp. 87-93 Elsevier B.V

► Universal real-time PCR primer pair demonstrated to hybridize to and detect each of the known Lyssaviruses (including Rabies virus) with greater sensitivity than a standard pan-Lyssavirus hemi-nested RT-PCR typically used. ► Target sequences of bat derived virus species unavailable for analysis (Aravan-, Khujand-, Irkut-, West Caucasian bat- and Shimoni bat virus) were synthesized to produce oligonucleotides and the synthetic DNA was used as a target for primer hybridization. Rabies virus (RABV) is enzootic throughout most of the world. It is now widely accepted that RABV had its origins in bats. Ten of the 11 Lyssavirus species recognised, including RABV, have been isolated from bats. There is, however, a lack of understanding regarding both the ecology and host reservoirs of Lyssaviruses. A real-time PCR assay for the detection of all Lyssaviruses using universal primers would be beneficial for Lyssavirus surveillance. It was shown that using SYBR® Green, a universal real-time PCR primer pair previously demonstrated to detect European bat Lyssaviruses 1 and 2, and RABV, was able to detect reverse transcribed RNA for each of the seven virus species available to us. Target sequences of bat derived virus species unavailable for analysis were synthesized to produce oligonucleotides. Lagos Bat-, Duvenhage- and Mokola virus full nucleoprotein gene clones enabled a limit of 5–50 plasmid copies to be detected. Five copies of each of the synthetic DNA oligonucleotides of Aravan-, Khujand-, Irkut-, West Caucasian bat- and Shimoni bat virus were detected. The single universal primer pair was therefore able to detect each of the most divergent known Lyssaviruses with great sensitivity.

Kieran C. Pounder, Phillip C. Watts, Bo Niklasson, Eva R. K. Kallio, Denise A. Marston, Anthony R. Fooks, Michael Begon, Lorraine M. McElhinney (2015)Genome characterisation of two Ljungan virus isolates from wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus) in Sweden, In: Infection, genetics and evolution36pp. 156-164 Elsevier

Ljungan virus (LV) (family Picornaviridae, genus Parechovirus) is a suspected zoonotic pathogen with associations to human disease in Sweden. LV is a single-stranded RNA virus with a positive sense genome. There are five published Ljungan virus strains, three isolated from Sweden and two from America, and are classified into four genotypes. A further two strains described here were isolated from wild bank voles (Myodes glareolus) caught in Vastmanlands county, Sweden in 1994. These strains were sequenced using next generation pyrosequencing technology on the GS454flx platform. Genetic and phylogenetic analysis of the obtained genomes confirms isolates LV340 and LV342 as two new putative members of genotype 2 along with LV145SL, with 92% and 99% nucleotide identities respectively. Only two codon sites throughout the entire genome were identified as undergoing positive selection, both situated within the VP3 structural region, in or near to major antigenic sites. Whilst these two strains do not constitute new genotypes they provide evidence, though weakly supported, which suggests the evolution of Ljungan viruses to be relatively slow, a characteristic unlike other picornaviruses. Additional genomic sequences are urgently required for Ljungan virus strains, particularly from different locations or hosts, to fully understand the evolutionary and epidemiological properties of this potentially zoonotic virus. Crown Copyright (C) 2015 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Carolina Aznar-Lopez, Sonia Vazquez-Moron, Denise A. Marston, Javier Juste, Carlos Ibanez, Jose Miguel Berciano, Egoitz Salsamendi, Joxerra Aihartza, Ashley C. Banyard, Lorraine McElhinney, Anthony R. Fooks, Juan Echevarria (2013)Detection of rhabdovirus viral RNA in oropharyngeal swabs and ectoparasites of Spanish bats, In: Journal of general virology94(11)pp. 69-75 Microbiology Soc

Rhabdoviruses infect a variety of hosts, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects and plants. As bats are the natural host for most members of the genus Lyssavirus, the specificity of the amplification methods used for active surveillance is usually restricted to lyssaviruses. However, the presence of other rhabdoviruses in bats has also been reported. In order to broaden the scope of such methods, a new RT-PCR, able to detect a diverse range of rhabdoviruses, was designed. The method detected 81 of 86 different rhabdoviruses. In total, 1488 oropharyngeal bat swabs and 38 nycteribiid samples were analysed, and 17 unique rhabdovirus-related sequences were detected. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that those sequences detected in bats did not constitute a monophyletic group, even when originating from the same bat species. However, all of the sequences detected in nycteribiids and one sequence obtained from a bat did constitute a monophyletic group with Drosophila melanogaster sigma rhabdovirus.

Torfinn Moldal, Turid Vikøren, Florence Cliquet, Denise Marston, Jeroen van der Kooij, Knut Madslien, Irene Ørpetveit (2017)First detection of European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) in Norway, In: BMC veterinary research13(1)pp. 216-216 BioMed Central

Background: In Europe, bat rabies is primarily attributed to European bat lyssavirus type 1 (EBLV-1) and European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) which are both strongly host-specific. Approximately thirty cases of infection with EBLV-2 in Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentonii) and pond bats (M. dasycneme) have been reported. Two human cases of rabies caused by EBLV-2 have also been confirmed during the last thirty years, while natural spill-over to other non-flying mammals has never been reported. Rabies has never been diagnosed in mainland Norway previously. Case presentation: In late September 2015, a subadult male Daubenton's bat was found in a poor condition 800 m above sea level in the southern part of Norway. The bat was brought to the national Bat Care Centre where it eventually displayed signs of neurological disease and died after two days. EBLV-2 was detected in brain tissues by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by sequencing of a part of the nucleoprotein gene, and lyssavirus was isolated in neuroblastoma cells. Conclusions: The detection of EBLV-2 in a bat in Norway broadens the knowledge on the occurrence of this zoonotic agent. Since Norway is considered free of rabies, adequate information to the general public regarding the possibility of human cases of bat-associated rabies should be given. No extensive surveillance of lyssavirus infections in bats has been conducted in the country, and a passive surveillance network to assess rabies prevalence and bat epidemiology is highly desired.

Sten Calvelage, Conrad M. Freuling, Anthony R. Fooks, Dirk Hoeper, Denise A. Marston, Lorraine McElhinney, Thomas Bruun Rasmussen, Stefan Finke, Martin Beer, Thomas Mueller (2021)Full-Genome Sequences and Phylogenetic Analysis of Archived Danish European Bat Lyssavirus 1 (EBLV-1) Emphasize a Higher Genetic Resolution and Spatial Segregation for Sublineage 1a, In: Viruses13(4) Mdpi

European bat lyssavirus type 1 (EBLV-1) is the causative agent for almost all reported rabies cases found in European bats. In recent years, increasing numbers of available EBLV-1 full genomes and their phylogenetic analyses helped to further elucidate the distribution and genetic characteristics of EBLV-1 and its two subtypes, namely EBLV-1a and EBLV-1b. Nonetheless, the absence of full-genome sequences from regions with known detections of EBLV-1 still limit the understanding of the phylogeographic relations between viruses from different European regions. In this study, a set of 21 archived Danish EBLV-1 samples from the years 1985 to 2009 was processed for the acquisition of full-genome sequences using a high-throughput sequencing approach. Subsequent phylogenetic analysis encompassing all available EBLV-1 full genomes from databases revealed the Danish sequences belong to the EBLV-1a subtype and further highlighted the distinct, close phylogenetic relationship of Danish, Dutch and German isolates in this region. In addition, the formation of five putative groups nearly exclusively formed by Danish isolates and the overall increased resolution of the EBLV-1a branch indicate a higher genetic diversity and spatial segregation for this sublineage than was previously known. These results emphasize the importance of phylogenetic analyses of full-genome sequences of lyssaviruses for genetic geography.

David T S Hayman, Anthony R Fooks, Denise A Marston, Juan C Garcia-R (2016)The Global Phylogeography of Lyssaviruses - Challenging the 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, In: PLoS neglected tropical diseases10(12)pp. e0005266-e0005266

Rabies virus kills tens of thousands of people globally each year, especially in resource-limited countries. Yet, there are genetically- and antigenically-related lyssaviruses, all capable of causing the disease rabies, circulating globally among bats without causing conspicuous disease outbreaks. The species richness and greater genetic diversity of African lyssaviruses, along with the lack of antibody cross-reactivity among them, has led to the hypothesis that Africa is the origin of lyssaviruses. This hypothesis was tested using a probabilistic phylogeographical approach. The nucleoprotein gene sequences from 153 representatives of 16 lyssavirus species, collected between 1956 and 2015, were used to develop a phylogenetic tree which incorporated relevant geographic and temporal data relating to the viruses. In addition, complete genome sequences from all 16 (putative) species were analysed. The most probable ancestral distribution for the internal nodes was inferred using three different approaches and was confirmed by analysis of complete genomes. These results support a Palearctic origin for lyssaviruses (posterior probability = 0.85), challenging the 'out of Africa' hypothesis, and suggest three independent transmission events to the Afrotropical region, representing the three phylogroups that form the three major lyssavirus clades.

Anthony R. Fooks, Graeme Harkess, Trudy Goddard, Denise A. Marston, Lorraine McElhinney, Kevin Brown, Dilys Morgan, Rob Paul, Peter J. Thomas, Brian Smith (2008)Rabies virus in a dog imported to the UK from Sri Lanka, In: Veterinary record162(18)pp. 598-598 BRITISH VETERINARY ASSOC
Amanda Hanna, Jill Banks, Denise A. Marston, Richard J. Ellis, Sharon M. Brookes, Ian H. Brown (2015)Genetic Characterization of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N8) Virus from Domestic Ducks, England, November 2014, In: Emerging infectious diseases21(5)pp. 879-882 Centers Disease Control & Prevention

Genetic sequences of a highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) virus in England have high homology to those detected in mainland Europe and Asia during 2014. Genetic characterization suggests this virus is an avian-adapted virus without specific affinity for zoonoses. Spatio-temporal detections of H5N8 imply a role for wild birds in virus spread.

L. M. McElhinney, D. A. Marston, C. M. Freuling, W. Cragg, S. Stankov, D. Lalosevic, V. Lalosevic, T. Mueller, A. R. Fooks (2011)Molecular diversity and evolutionary history of rabies virus strains circulating in the Balkans, In: Journal of general virology92(9)pp. 2171-2180 SOC GENERAL MICROBIOLOGY

Molecular studies of European classical rabies viruses (RABV) have revealed a number of geographically clustered lineages. To study the diversity of Balkan RABV, partial nucleoprotein (N) gene sequences were analysed from a unique panel of isolates (n=210), collected from various hosts between 1972 and 2006. All of the Balkan isolates grouped within the European/Middle East Lineage, with the majority most closely related to East European strains. A number of RABV from Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro, collected between 1986 and 2006, grouped with the West European strains, believed to be responsible for the rabies epizootic that spread throughout Europe in the latter half of the 20th Century. In contrast, no Serbian RABV belonged to this sublineage. However, a distinct group of Serbian fox RABV provided further evidence for the southwards wildlife-mediated movement of rabies from Hungary, Romania and Serbia into Bulgaria. To determine the optimal region for evolutionary analysis, partial, full and concatenated N-gene and glycoprotein (G) gene sequences were compared. Whilst both the divergence times and evolutionary rates were similar irrespective of genomic region, the 95% highest probability density (HPD) limits were significantly reduced for full N-gene and concatenated NG-gene sequences compared with partial gene sequences. Bayesian coalescent analysis estimated the date of the most common recent ancestor of the Balkan RABV to be 1885 (95 % HPD, 1852-1913), and skyline plots suggested an expansion of the local viral population in 1980-1990, which coincides with the observed emergence of fox rabies in the region.

Melina Fischer, Conrad M. Freuling, Thomas Müller, Anne Wegelt, Engbert A. Kooi, Thomas B. Rasmussen, Katja Voller, Denise A. Marston, Anthony R. Fooks, Martin Beer, Bernd Hoffmann (2014)Molecular double-check strategy for the identification and characterization of European Lyssaviruses, In: Journal of virological methods203pp. 23-32 Elsevier B.V

•We developed a RT-PCR cascade protocol for lyssavirus diagnostics.•Applied systems allow safe and sensitive screening and detection of lyssaviruses.•All systems displayed an excellent reproducibility and repeatability.•All known advantages of the real-time PCR technology were occupied. The “gold standard” for post-mortem rabies diagnosis is the direct fluorescent antibody test (FAT). However, in the case of ante-mortem non-neural sample material or decomposed tissues, the FAT reaches its limit, and the use of molecular techniques can be advantageous. In this study, we developed and validated a reverse transcription PCR cascade protocol feasible for the classification of samples, even those for which there is no epidemiological background knowledge. This study emphasises on the most relevant European lyssaviruses. In a first step, two independent N- and L-gene based pan-lyssavirus intercalating dye assays are performed in a double-check application to increase the method's diagnostic safety. For the second step, characterization of the lyssavirus positive samples via two independent multiplex PCR-systems was performed. Both assays were probe-based, species-specific multiplex PCR-systems for Rabies virus, European bat lyssavirus type 1 and 2 as well as Bokeloh bat lyssavirus. All assays were validated successfully with a comprehensive panel of lyssavirus positive samples, as well as negative material from various host species. This double-check strategy allows for both safe and sensitive screening, detection and characterization of all lyssavirus species of humans and animals, as well as the rapid identification of currently unknown lyssaviruses in bats in Europe.

Anthony R. Fooks, Nicholas Johnson, Conrad M. Freuling, Philip R. Wakeley, Ashley C. Banyard, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Denise A. Marston, Akbar Dastjerdi, Edward Wright, Robin A. Weiss, Thomas Müller (2009)Emerging Technologies for the Detection of Rabies Virus: Challenges and Hopes in the 21st Century, In: PLoS neglected tropical diseases3(9)pp. e530-e530 Public Library of Science

The diagnosis of rabies is routinely based on clinical and epidemiological information, especially when exposures are reported in rabies-endemic countries. Diagnostic tests using conventional assays that appear to be negative, even when undertaken late in the disease and despite the clinical diagnosis, have a tendency, at times, to be unreliable. These tests are rarely optimal and entirely dependent on the nature and quality of the sample supplied. In the course of the past three decades, the application of molecular biology has aided in the development of tests that result in a more rapid detection of rabies virus. These tests enable viral strain identification from clinical specimens. Currently, there are a number of molecular tests that can be used to complement conventional tests in rabies diagnosis. Indeed the challenges in the 21st century for the development of rabies diagnostics are not of a technical nature; these tests are available now. The challenges in the 21st century for diagnostic test developers are two-fold: firstly, to achieve internationally accepted validation of a test that will then lead to its acceptance by organisations globally. Secondly, the areas of the world where such tests are needed are mainly in developing regions where financial and logistical barriers prevent their implementation. Although developing countries with a poor healthcare infrastructure recognise that molecular-based diagnostic assays will be unaffordable for routine use, the cost/benefit ratio should still be measured. Adoption of rapid and affordable rabies diagnostic tests for use in developing countries highlights the importance of sharing and transferring technology through laboratory twinning between the developed and the developing countries. Importantly for developing countries, the benefit of molecular methods as tools is the capability for a differential diagnosis of human diseases that present with similar clinical symptoms. Antemortem testing for human rabies is now possible using molecular techniques. These barriers are not insurmountable and it is our expectation that if such tests are accepted and implemented where they are most needed, they will provide substantial improvements for rabies diagnosis and surveillance. The advent of molecular biology and new technological initiatives that combine advances in biology with other disciplines will support the development of techniques capable of high throughput testing with a low turnaround time for rabies diagnosis.

Denise A. Marston, Richard J. Ellis, Emma L. Wise, Nidia Arechiga-Ceballos, Conrad M. Freuling, Ashley C. Banyard, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Xavier de Lamballerie, Thomas Mueller, Anthony R. Fooks, Juan E. Echevarria (2017)Complete Genome Sequence of Lleida Bat Lyssavirus, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)5(2) Amer Soc Microbiology

All lyssaviruses (family Rhabdoviridae) cause the disease rabies, an acute progressive encephalitis for which, once symptoms occur, there is no effective cure. Using next-generation sequencing, the full-genome sequence for a novel lyssavirus, Lleida bat lyssavirus (LLEBV), from the original brain of a common bent-winged bat has been confirmed.

D. A. Marston, L. M. McElhinney, Y. H. Ali, K. S. Intisar, S. M. Ho, C. Freuling, T. Mueller, A. R. Fooks (2009)Phylogenetic analysis of rabies viruses from Sudan provides evidence of a viral clade with a unique molecular signature, In: Virus research145(2)pp. 244-250 Elsevier

Rabies is endemic in Sudan and remains a continual threat to public health as transmission to humans is principally dog-mediated. Additionally, large-scale losses of livestock occur each year causing economic and social dilemmas. In this study, we analysed a cohort of 143 rabies viruses circulating in Sudan collected from 10 different animal species between 1992 and 2006. Partial nucleoprotein sequence data (400 bp) were obtained and compared to available sequence data of African classical rabies virus (RABV) isolates. The Sudanese sequences formed a discrete cluster within the Africa I a group, including a small number of sequences that clustered with sequences from Ethiopian RABV. These latter sequences share an Aspartic Acid at position 106 (Asp(106)) with all other Africa 1 a group members, in contrast to the remaining Sudanese strains, which encode Glutamic Acid at this position (Glu(106)). Furthermore, when representatives of other African and European lineages were aligned, Glu(106) is unique to Sudan, which supports the concept of a single distinct virus strain circulating in Sudan. The high sequence identity in all Sudanese isolates studied, demonstrates the presence of a single rabies virus biotype for which the principal reservoir is the domestic dog. Crown Copyright (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Nicholas Johnson, Conrad Freuling, Denise A. Marston, Noel Tordo, Anthony R. Fooks, Thomas Müller (2007)Identification of European bat lyssavirus isolates with short genomic insertions, In: Virus research128(1)pp. 140-143 Elsevier B.V

Molecular typing has consistently identified European bat lyssaviruses from Germany as EBLV type 1a (EBLV-1a). This report confirms the presence of the closely related EBLV-1b in southern Germany, a group previously reported from The Netherlands, France and Spain. Furthermore, two of three German EBLV-1b isolates contain a 6 base pair insertion within the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the nucleoprotein gene. This feature was shared with a third EBLV-1b isolate from a region of France adjacent to the French-German border. Further investigation revealed a two base pair insertion in a single isolate of EBLV-2 at the same genomic location. Although the length of the nucleoprotein gene 3′UTRs do vary between lyssavirus genotypes, such insertions have not been recorded within genotypes and could be the result of duplications within the nucleoprotein mRNA transcript polyadenylation signal.

Tatiana Dupinay, Kieran C. Pounder, Florence Ayral, Maria-Halima Laaberki, Denise A. Marston, Sandra Lacote, Catherine Rey, Fabienne Barbet, Katja Voller, Nicolas Nazaret, Marc Artois, Philippe Marianneau, Joel Lachuer, Anthony R. Fooks, Michel Pepin, Catherine Legras-Lachuer, Lorraine M. McElhinney (2014)Detection and genetic characterization of Seoul Virus from commensal brown rats in France, In: Virology journal11(1)pp. 32-32 Springer Nature

Background: Hantaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses, which are transmitted to humans primarily via inhalation of aerosolised virus in contaminated rodent urine and faeces. Whilst infected reservoir hosts are asymptomatic, human infections can lead to two clinical manifestations, haemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) and hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome (HCPS), with varying degrees of clinical severity. The incidence of rodent and human cases of Seoul virus (SEOV) in Europe has been considered to be low, and speculated to be driven by the sporadic introduction of infected brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) via ports. Methods: Between October 2010 and March 2012, 128 brown rats were caught at sites across the Lyon region in France. Results: SEOV RNA was detected in the lungs of 14% (95% CI 8.01 - 20.11) of brown rats tested using a nested pan-hantavirus RT-PCR (polymerase gene). Phylogenetic analysis supports the inclusion of the Lyon SEOV within Lineage 7 with SEOV strains originating from SE Asia and the previously reported French & Belgian SEOV strains. Sequence data obtained from the recent human SEOV case (Replonges) was most similar to that obtained from one brown rat trapped in a public park in Lyon city centre. We obtained significantly improved recovery of virus genome sequence directly from SEOV infected lung material using a simple viral enrichment approach and NGS technology. Conclusions: The detection of SEOV in two wild caught brown rats in the UK and the multiple detection of SEOV infected brown rats in the Lyon region of France, suggests that SEOV is circulating in European brown rats. Under-reporting and difficulties in identifying the hantaviruses associated with HFRS may mask the public health impact of SEOV in Europe.

Lorraine M. McElhinney, Denise A. Marston, Sharon M. Brookes, Anthony R. Fooks (2014)Effects of carcase decomposition on rabies virus infectivity and detection, In: Journal of virological methods207pp. 110-113 Elsevier

Carcases received for rabies diagnosis are occasionally decomposed due to delays in finding, submitting or storing them. Positive diagnostic results from such samples are reliable but negative results may be invalid. Previous studies assessed the effect of decomposition on rabies detection using excised brains. To better reflect decomposition in the field, intact infected mouse carcases were stored at three temperatures for up to 70 days. The brains were then removed and tested using routine rabies diagnostic assays. Rabies virus was isolated using the Rabies Tissue Culture Inoculation Test (RTCIT) on days 18,3 and 3 at 4 degrees C, 25 degrees C and 35 degrees C, respectively. The Fluorescent Antibody Test (FAT) detected viral antigen on days 36, 12 and 3, whilst a rabies specific Hemi-nested RT-PCR detected viral RNA on days 70,48 and 48 at 4 degrees C, 25 degrees C and 35 degrees C, respectively. These findings suggest the persistence of infectious rabies virus in carcases left for 18 days at cold temperatures (4 degrees C) and up to 3 days in temperatures reaching 35 degrees C. The detection of viral RNA from a carcase decomposing at 35 degrees C for 48 days supports the use of molecular assays to accompany OIE-prescribed rabies diagnostic tests particularly when decomposed samples are likely to be submitted. Count=199. Crown Copyright (C) 2014 Published by Elsevier B.V.

Nicholas Johnson, Alex Nunez, Denise A. Marston, Graeme Harkess, Katja Voller, Trudy Goddard, Daniel Hicks, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Anthony R. Fooks (2011)Investigation of an Imported Case of Rabies in a Juvenile Dog with Atypical Presentation, In: Animals (Basel)1(4)pp. 402-413 Mdpi

Simple Summary: This study confirms the need for vigilance and rapid diagnosis of veterinary samples to control the unexpected importation of rabies into a country, particularly when the disease signs are atypical. Abstract: Movement of dogs between rabies-endemic and rabies-free countries carries the inherent risk of introducing the disease. In April of 2008, a juvenile dog was imported to the UK from Sri Lanka. It died shortly after transfer to a quarantine facility in the south-east of England following a short history of diarrhoea and convulsions but no overt signs of aggression. Subsequent investigation confirmed that rabies was the cause of death. Rabies virus was isolated from brain samples taken from the dog and the subsequent phylogenetic investigation confirmed that the genomic sequence from this virus shared over 99% homology with endemic rabies viruses from Sri Lanka. Histological examination of the brain demonstrated clear signs of encephalitis and rabies antigenic labeling in numerous neurons. In this particular case, Negri bodies were absent. As this case was diagnosed in a quarantine facility, the 'rabies-free' status of the UK was un-affected.

N. Johnson, A. Dicker, T. Mork, D.A. Marston, A.R. Fooks, M. Tryland, E. Fuglei, T. Müller (2007)Phylogenetic Comparison of Rabies Viruses from Disease Outbreaks on the Svalbard Islands, In: Vector borne and zoonotic diseases (Larchmont, N.Y.)7(3)pp. 457-460
Michael Koch, Simon Camp, Trevor Collen, David Avila, Jan Salomonsen, Hans-Joachim Wallny, Andrew van Hateren, Lawrence Hunt, Jansen P. Jacob, Fiona Johnston, Denise A. Marston, Iain Shaw, P. Rod Dunbar, Vincenzo Cerundolo, E. Yvonne Jones, Jim Kaufman (2007)Structures of an MHC class I molecule from B21 chickens illustrate promiscuous peptide binding, In: Immunity (Cambridge, Mass.)27(6)pp. 885-899 Elsevier

Little is known about the structure of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules outside of mammals. Only one class I molecule in the chicken MHC is highly expressed, leading to strong genetic associations with infectious pathogens. Here, we report two structures of the MHC class I molecule BF2*2101 from the B21 haplotype, which is known to confer resistance to Marek's disease caused by an oncogenic herpesvirus. The binding groove has an unusually large central cavity, which confers substantial conformational flexibility to the crucial residue Arg9, allowing remodeling of key peptide-binding sites. The coupled variation of anchor residues from the peptide, utilizing a charge-transfer system unprecedented in MHC molecules, allows peptides with conspicuously different sequences to be bound. This promiscuous binding extends our understanding of ways in which MHC class I molecules can present peptides to the immune system and might explain the resistance of the B21 haplotype to Marek's disease.

Claude Sabeta, Baby Phahladira, Denise A. Marston, Emma L. Wise, Richard J. Ellis, Anthony R. Fooks (2015)Complete Genome Sequences of Six South African Rabies Viruses, In: Genome announcements (Washington, DC)3(5)

ABSTRACT South African rabies viruses (RABVs) from dogs and jackals (canid viruses) are highly related and most likely originated from a single progenitor. RABV is the cause of most global human rabies cases. The complete genome sequences of 3 RABVs from South Africa and Zimbabwe are reported here.

Denise A. Marston, Ashley C. Banyard, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Conrad M. Freuling, Stefan Finke, Xavier de Lamballerie, Thomas Mueller, Anthony R. Fooks (2018)The lyssavirus host-specificity conundrum - rabies virus - the exception not the rule, In: Current opinion in virology28pp. 68-73 Elsevier

Lyssaviruses are a diverse range of viruses which all cause the disease rabies. Of the 16 recognized species, only rabies viruses (RABV) have multiple host reservoirs. Although lyssaviruses are capable of infecting all mammals, onward transmission in a new host population requires adaptation of the virus, in a number of stages with both host and virus factors determining the outcome. Due to an absence of recorded non-RABV host shifts, RABV data is extrapolated to draw conclusions for all lyssaviruses. In this article, we have focused on evidence of host shifts in the same insectivorous bat reservoir species in North America (RABV) and Europe (EBLV-1, EBLV-2 and BBLV). How RABV has successfully crossed species barriers and established infectious cycles in new hosts to be the global multi-host pathogen it is today, whilst other lyssaviruses appear restricted in host species is explored in this review. It hypothesized that RABV is the exception, rather than the rule, in this fascinating genus of viruses.

Edward Wright, Nigel J. Temperton, Denise A. Marston, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Anthony R. Fooks, Robin A. Weiss (2008)Investigating antibody neutralization of lyssaviruses using lentiviral pseudotypes: a cross-species comparison, In: Journal of general virology89(9)pp. 2204-2213 Microbiology Soc

Cross-neutralization between rabies virus (RABV) and two European bat lyssaviruses (EBLV-1 and -2) was analysed using lentiviral pseudotypes as antigen vectors. Glycoprotein (G-protein) cDNA from RABV challenge virus standard-11 (CVS-11) and EBLV-1 and -2 were cloned and co-expressed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or murine leukemia virus (MLV) gag-pol and packageable green fluorescent protein (GFP) or luciferase reporter genes in human cells. The harvested lentiviral (HIV) vector infected over 40% of baby hamster kidney (BHK) target cells, providing high-titre pseudotype stocks. Tests on blinded antibody-positive (n = 15) and -negative (n=45) sera, predetermined by the fluorescent antibody virus neutralization (FAVN) test approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Office International des Epizooties (OIE), revealed that the CVS-11 pseudotype assay had 100% concordance with FAVN and strongly correlated with neutralization titres (r(2)=0.89). Cross-neutralization tests using sera from RABV-vaccinated humans and animals on pseudotypes with CVS-11, EBLV-1 and EBLV-2 envelopes showed that the relative neutralization titres correlated broadly with the degree of G-protein diversity. Pseudotypes have three major advantages over live-virus neutralization tests: (i) they can be handled in low-biohazard-level laboratories; (ii) the use of reporter genes such as GFP or beta-galactosidase will allow the assay to be undertaken at low cost in laboratories worldwide; (iii) each assay requires < 10 mu l serum. This robust microassay will improve our understanding of the protective humoral immunity that current rabies vaccines confer against emerging lyssaviruses, and will be applicable to surveillance studies, thus helping to control the spread of rabies.

Laith N. Al-Eitan, Amneh H. Tarkhan, Mansour A. Alghamdi, Denise A. Marston, Guanghui Wu, Lorraine M. McElhinney, Ian H. Brown, Anthony R. Fooks (2020)Bat-Borne Coronaviruses in Jordan and Saudi Arabia: A Threat to Public Health?, In: Viruses12(12) Mdpi

Emerging infectious diseases are of great concern to public health, as highlighted by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Such diseases are of particular danger during mass gathering and mass influx events, as large crowds of people in close proximity to each other creates optimal opportunities for disease transmission. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are two countries that have witnessed mass gatherings due to the arrival of Syrian refugees and the annual Hajj season. The mass migration of people not only brings exotic diseases to these regions but also brings new diseases back to their own countries, e.g., the outbreak of MERS in South Korea. Many emerging pathogens originate in bats, and more than 30 bat species have been identified in these two countries. Some of those bat species are known to carry viruses that cause deadly diseases in other parts of the world, such as the rabies virus and coronaviruses. However, little is known about bats and the pathogens they carry in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Here, the importance of enhanced surveillance of bat-borne infections in Jordan and Saudi Arabia is emphasized, promoting the awareness of bat-borne diseases among the general public and building up infrastructure and capability to fill the gaps in public health preparedness to prevent future pandemics.

Arran J. Folly, Denise A. Marston, Megan Golding, Shweta Shukla, Rebekah Wilkie, Fabian Z. X. Lean, Alejandro Núñez, Lisa Worledge, James Aegerter, Ashley C. Banyard, Anthony R. Fooks, Nicholas Johnson, Lorraine M. McElhinney (2021)Incursion of European Bat Lyssavirus 1 (EBLV-1) in Serotine Bats in the United Kingdom, In: Viruses13(10)1979 MDPI

Lyssaviruses are an important genus of zoonotic viruses which cause the disease rabies. The United Kingdom is free of classical rabies (RABV). However, bat rabies due to European bat lyssavirus 2 (EBLV-2), has been detected in Daubenton’s bats (Myotis daubentonii) in Great Britain since 1996, including a fatal human case in Scotland in 2002. Across Europe, European bat lyssavirus 1 (EBLV-1) is commonly associated with serotine bats (Eptesicus serotinus). Despite the presence of serotine bats across large parts of southern England, EBLV-1 had not previously been detected in this population. However, in 2018, EBLV-1 was detected through passive surveillance in a serotine bat from Dorset, England, using a combination of fluorescent antibody test, reverse transcription-PCR, Sanger sequencing and immunohistochemical analysis. Subsequent EBLV-1 positive serotine bats have been identified in South West England, again through passive surveillance, during 2018, 2019 and 2020. Here, we confirm details of seven cases of EBLV-1 and present similarities in genetic sequence indicating that emergence of EBLV-1 is likely to be recent, potentially associated with the natural movement of bats from the near continent