Date of this Version
Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 51(4), 2015, pp. 821–832
Rabies virus (RABV) infects multiple bat species in the Americas, and enzootic foci perpetuate in bats principally via intraspecific transmission. In recent years, bats have been implicated in over 90% of human rabies cases in the US. In Tennessee, two human cases of rabies have occurred since 1960: one case in 1994 associated with a tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) RABV variant and another in 2002 associated with the tricolored/silver-haired bat (P. subflavus/ Lasionycteris noctivagans) RABV variant. From 1996 to 2010, 2,039 bats were submitted for rabies testing in Tennessee. Among 1,943 bats in satisfactory condition for testing and with a reported diagnostic result, 96% (1,870 of 1,943) were identified to species and 10% (196 of 1,943) were rabid. Big brown (Eptesicus fuscus), tricolored, and eastern red (Lasiurus borealis) bats comprised 77% of testable bat submissions and 84% of rabid bats. For species with five or more submissions during 1996–2010, the highest proportion of rabid bats occurred in hoary (Lasiurus cinereus; 46%), unspecified Myotis spp. (22%), and eastern red (17%) bats. The best model to predict rabid bats included month of submission, exposure history of submission, species, and sex of bat.