We captured 140 bats of seven species in Merida City in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico in 2010. Serum was collected from each bat and assayed by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) using six flaviviruses: West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, and dengue viruses 1–4. Flavivirus-specific antibodies were detected in 26 bats (19%). The antibody-positive bats belonged to three species: the Pallas’s long-tongued bat (Glossophaga soricina), Jamaican fruit bat (Artibeus jamaicensis), and great fruit-eating bat (Artibeus lituratus), and their flavivirus antibody prevalences were 33%, 24%, and 9%, respectively. The PRNT titers were usually highest for dengue virus 2 or dengue virus 4, but none of the titers exceeded 80. These data could indicate that most of the antibody-positive bats had been infected with dengue virus. However, because all titers were low, it is possible that the bats had been infected with another (perhaps unrecognized) flavivirus not included in the PRNT analysis, possibly a virus more closely related to dengue virus than to other flaviviruses. Each serum sample was assayed for flavivirus RNA by reverse transcription PCR, but all were negative.
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Vol. 49 • No. 3