Rabies causes thousands of human and animal deaths worldwide each year. The emergent importance of rabies in wild animals demonstrates the necessity of epidemiologic studies of infection in these species toward the development of better strategies for prevention and control of rabies. We analyzed the circulation of rabies virus among wildlife species from a native rainforest in São Paulo State, Brazil. We used the rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT) to test for rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies in 139 captured terrestrial mammals and the fluorescent antibody test (FAT), mouse inoculation test (MIT), and reverse-transcriptase (RT)-PCR to test for virus in samples from the central nervous system of 53 animals found dead. The percentage of samples positive by RFFIT was 10.8%. All samples tested by FAT, MIT, and RT-PCR were negative. Research should be continued to obtain a better understanding of the role of wildlife in the circulation and transmission of rabies virus.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3