During the past decade, incidence of human infection with rabies virus (RABV) spread by the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) increased considerably in South America, especially in remote areas of the Amazon rainforest, where these bats commonly feed on humans. To better understand the epizootiology of rabies associated with vampire bats, we used complete sequences of the nucleoprotein gene to infer phylogenetic relationships among 157 RABV isolates collected from humans, domestic animals, and wildlife, including bats, in Peru during 2002-2007. This analysis revealed distinct geographic structuring that indicates that RABVs spread gradually and involve different vampire bat subpopulations with different transmission cycles. Three putative new RABV lineages were found in 3 non-vampire bat species that may represent new virus reservoirs. Detection of novel RABV variants and accurate identification of reservoir hosts are critically important for the prevention and control of potential virus transmission, especially to humans.
Condori-Condori, R. E., Streicker, D. G., Cabezas-Sanchez, C., & Velasco-Villa, A. (2013). Enzootic and epizootic rabies associated with vampire bats, Peru. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 1463-1469. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid1909.130083