The Brazilian chiropteran fauna consists of 167 species; of which, three are hematophagous: the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus youngi), and the hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata). The aim of this study was to describe the isolation of Rabies virus from common and hairy-legged vampire bats and to report the first comparative antigenic and genetic studies of isolates from these bats. Antigenic and genetic typing of both isolates identified them as antigenic variant 3 (AgV3), the variant frequently isolated from common vampire bats. Phylogenetic analysis showed 99.3% identity between the isolates. This is the first time since 1934 that Rabies virus has been isolated from hairy-legged vampire bats in Brazil. Our analysis provides evidence that the existence of rabies-positive isolates from hairy-legged vampire bats may be the result of an interspecific rabies transmission event from common vampire bats and suggests that roost cohabitation may occur.
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Vol. 46 • No. 4