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Viruses 2014, 6(5), 1911-1928; doi:10.3390/v6051911

Vampire Bat Rabies: Ecology, Epidemiology and Control

1,* , 2
1 Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, Surrey, KT15 3NB, UK 2 Rabies Laboratory, Virology Department, Institute of Epidemiology Diagnostic and Reference (InDRE), Francisco de P. Miranda #177Bis. Colonia Unidad Lomas de Plateros. 01480 D.F., Mexico 3 Medical Immunology Research Unit, Paediatric Hospital, Naional Medical Center "Siglo XXL", Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), Av. Cuauhtémoc 330, Col. Doctores, 06720, D.F., Mexico
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 February 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 9 April 2014 / Published: 29 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses and Bats)
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Extensive surveillance in bat populations in response to recent emerging diseases has revealed that this group of mammals acts as a reservoir for a large range of viruses. However, the oldest known association between a zoonotic virus and a bat is that between rabies virus and the vampire bat. Vampire bats are only found in Latin America and their unique method of obtaining nutrition, blood-feeding or haematophagy, has only evolved in the New World. The adaptations that enable blood-feeding also make the vampire bat highly effective at transmitting rabies virus. Whether the virus was present in pre-Columbian America or was introduced is much disputed, however, the introduction of Old World livestock and associated landscape modification, which continues to the present day, has enabled vampire bat populations to increase. This in turn has provided the conditions for rabies re-emergence to threaten both livestock and human populations as vampire bats target large mammals. This review considers the ecology of the vampire bat that make it such an efficient vector for rabies, the current status of vampire-transmitted rabies and the future prospects for spread by this virus and its control.
Keywords: vampire bat; Desmodus rotundus; rabies virus; transmission vampire bat; Desmodus rotundus; rabies virus; transmission
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Johnson, N.; Aréchiga-Ceballos, N.; Aguilar-Setien, A. Vampire Bat Rabies: Ecology, Epidemiology and Control. Viruses 2014, 6, 1911-1928.

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