On 27 May 1999, a big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) was discovered on an island exhibit at the Denver Zoo that contained a troop of 15 hooded capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella cay). The monkeys were attacking the bat when it was discovered. The bat was collected and humanely euthanatized without direct handling and submitted to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Virology Laboratory for rabies evaluation. The monkeys had not been vaccinated against rabies virus. The next day, the laboratory confirmed that the bat was positive for rabies. The recommendations from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were to euthanatize the monkeys or quarantine them and comply with the human nonvaccinated postexposure protocol. A 1-ml dose of a killed rabies vaccine was administered i.m. in the hip on each of days 2, 7, 12, 19, and 33 postexposure, and a single dose of human rabies immune globulin was administered i.m. 5 days postexposure. Blood was collected under anesthesia in order to evaluate the immune response after rabies vaccination from six monkeys 5 days postexposure, six monkeys 19 days postexposure (five of the six monkeys were the same monkeys bled 5 days postexposure), 15 monkeys 67 days postexposure, and 13 monkeys approximately 1 yr postexposure. All of the monkeys developed and maintained levels of rabies virus neutralizing antibody above 0.05 IU/ml by 67 days postexposure. Although a serologic titer of 0.05 IU/ml indicates an adequate human response after rabies vaccination, no similar information is available for nonhuman primates. To date, none of the monkeys has succumbed to rabies.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1