A mammalian survey was conducted in Mexico (October 1994–January 1996) and in Paraguay (August 1996–March 1997); a complete specimen was collected for each bat in the survey, including primary voucher specimen, ectoparasites, karyotype, and various frozen tissues. The surveys combined provided 937 brain samples (65 bat species) for rabies diagnosis. One male Lasiurus ega, collected in Paraguay, tested positive for the rabies virus (overall prevalence rate of 0.1%). Nucleotide sequence from a 300 bp region of the rabies nucleoprotein gene was compared with sequence obtained from representative rabies virus samples in the repository at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, Georgia, USA). Rabies virus extracted from the brain material of L. ega differed by only one nucleotide from a 300 bp consensus sequence (>99% homology) derived from samples for the variant of rabies virus transmitted by Lasiurus cinereus. Lasiurus ega differed by approximately 15% for the variant transmitted by Desmodus rotundus. Phylogenetic analysis found no evidence to suggest L. ega is a reservoir for rabies antigenic variant 6. The most likely explanation for rabies in L. ega was infection following contact with a rabid L. cinereus.
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Vol. 37 • No. 3