EPIDEMIOLOGICAL SURVEILLANCE OF RABIES IN THE REGION OF BOTUCATU, SO PAULO STATE, BRAZIL: IMPORTANCE OF THE CHIROPTERA FOR THE VIRAL MAINTENANCE IN NATURE.

L. C. SOUZA, H. LANGONI, R. C. SILVA, S. B. LUCHEIS

Abstract


A rabies epidemiological surveillance was performed in Botucatu and in its neighboring municipalities in São Paulo State, southeastern Brazil, from 1992 to 2000. The aim of this study was to assess the importance of bats as the vehicle of rabies virus in rural zones. We verified a low positive rate of irus isolation (0.2%) and a great diversity of bat species, with predominance of insectivorous bats. Pipes underneath highways presented the better refuge conditions. Controlling the Desmodus rotundus bat population is mandatory to avoid spreading rabies virus, therefore controlling rabies in animal populations and reducing the risk for human beings.
KEY-WORDS: Epidemiology. Bats. Surveillance. Rabies. Zoonosis.



DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15361/2175-0106.2005v21n1p62-68