[Outbreaks of human rabies transmitted by vampire bats in Alto Baudó and Bajo Baudó municipalities, department of chocó, Colombia, 2004-2005].Biomedica. 2006 Sep; 26(3):387-96.B
During months May to July 2004, a rabies outbreak in the Embera community of Birrinchao, in the Purricha river basin department of Choc6 was reported with 14 human deaths. Another rabies outbreak was reported in January 2005 in the black communities of Pató and Nauca in the neighboring municipality of Alto Baudó with 3 human deaths.
To describe the largest outbreaks of human rabies transmitted by vampire bats reported in Colombia to date. To describe the diagnostic laboratory techniques used, and the activities undertaken for the control of rabies in the area. To discuss the epidemiologic significance and public health implications of these rabies outbreaks.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Rabies diagnosis was achieved by direct immunofluorescence, inoculation of mice and immunohistochemistry. Typing of the virus was achieved by indirect immunofluorescence using monoclonal antibodies. Rabies control activities were undertaken in Bajo Baudó consisting in a population census, human vaccination and application of antirabies sera, vaccination of dogs and cats, and application of anticoagulant to bats.
Four human cases were confirmed as positive for rabies in both rabies outbreaks. Another 13 rabies cases in humans were inferred by strong epidemiological links. Rabies antigenic variant 3 was identified in the samples studied. Rabies control activities were conducted for a human rabies outbreak caused by vampire bats.
The human rabies outbreak in Bajo Baudó has been the largest reported in Colombia. It was caused by vampire bats, showing that these animals are a threat for human health. The implementation of control strategies for this kind of epizootic outbreaks is needed in South America. It remains unknown whether there is a link between this outbreak and one reported 6 months later in the neighboring municipality of Alto Baudó.