Seroprevalence of rabies virus antibodies in bats from Southern China
Posted: March 31st, 2010 - 8:35pm
Source: Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases. March 2010, 10(2): 177-181
Members of the Order Chiroptera are the natural reservoirs of lyssaviruses and play an important role in the transmission of rabies to animals and humans. In this present study, the seroprevalence for rabies virus was determined for bats sampled from four southern provinces on the Chinese mainland. A total of 685 bats of 8 species representing 4 families were collected from 10 sites, and were tested by the indirect fluorescent antibody test using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)–conjugated protein A/G mixture and viral neutralization test. Rabies antibody response was only detected from three bat species (Rousettus leschenaulti, Rhinolophus blythi, and Rhinolophus ferrumequinum). The overall rabies seroconversion rate was only 2.2% (15/685). Of the 15 positive sera, 13 (12 fruit bats and 1 insectivorous bat) were indirect fluorescent antibody test positive, and two insectivorous bats were virus neutralization positive when tested by the modified fluorescent antibody viral neutralization test, albeit extremely low. To our knowledge, this is the first published report describing rabies seroprevalences from Chinese bats. These results suggest that bats may play a role in the ecology of lyssaviruses in China, and further surveillance for the presence of lyssaviruses in bats should be undertaken throughout the country and extended to other species.