The impact of paralytic bovine rabies transmitted by vampire bats in Latin America and the Caribbean.Rev Sci Tech. 2018 Aug; 37(2):451-459.RS
The effective control of dog rabies in Latin America is justifiably seen as a major success in the struggle to limit this devastating zoonosis. However, rabies remains a problem, due to the presence of the virus in bat populations throughout the region, including vampire bats. Vampire bats obtain nutrition exclusively through consuming blood by biting mammals and birds. This makes the species a highly efficient vector of the rabies virus, responsible for sporadic outbreaks of rabies in human populations and numerous cases of rabies in livestock. This, in turn, causes economic losses to the farming industry in countries throughout the region. For over four decades, efforts to control rabies have been directed at controlling the reservoir species and vaccinating cattle. However, this approach has not eliminated rabies in livestock. A major barrier to innovation in vampire rabies control is a lack of consistent surveillance to establish the extent of the problem. This precludes any calculation of its cost to the economy or the cost of potential solutions, such as vaccinating livestock. This paper outlines the problem of livestock rabies in Latin America and considers factors that influence the economic cost of potential solutions to this continuing challenge to human and livestock health.