Twenty-six captive, adult Egyptian fruit bats (Rousettus aegyptiacus) were tested for the presence of rabies virus neutralizing antibodies (RVNA) using a rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test before and after vaccination. The bats were randomly assigned into three treatment groups: group A (n = 10) bats each received one 0.1-ml dose of monovalent inactivated rabies vaccine, group B (n = 10) bats each received two 0.1-ml doses of vaccine given 30 days apart, and group C (n = 6) bats remained unvaccinated. Plasma was collected from all bats before vaccination and on days 14, 30, 60, and 360. All bats were seronegative before vaccination, and all unvaccinated animals remained negative throughout the study. Rabies virus neutralization titers remained above 0.5 IU/ml from day 30 through day 360 for both vaccinated groups. Group B had significantly higher titers on day 60. This study demonstrated a measurable humoral immune response after vaccination with an inactivated rabies vaccine, with two doses producing a higher level of RVNA. This study confirms the feasibility of a rabies vaccination program for Egyptian fruit bats.
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Vol. 35 • No. 1