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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

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 fullgenome 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 fullgenome 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.

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