U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



Journal of Wildlife Diseases (2023) 59(4): 577–589

doi: 10.7589/JWD-D-22-00148


United States government work


The small Indian mongoose (Urva auropuncata) is a rabies reservoir in Puerto Rico and accounts for over 70% of reported animal rabies cases annually. The presence of rabies virus-neutralizing antibodies (RVNA) is often used as a tool to measure exposure to rabies virus in wildlife populations. We conducted a serosurvey of mongooses at 11 sites representing six habitat types across Puerto Rico. We collected a serum sample from 464 individual mongooses during 2014–2021. Overall, 80/464 (17.0%; 95% confidence interval, 14.1–20.9%; 55 male, 23 female, and two sexes not recorded) of individual mongooses sampled across all habitats were RVNA positive. The geometric mean (SD) RVNA titer for 80 unique seropositive animals was 0.58 (2.92) IU/mL. Our models indicated that the probability of mongooses being RVNA seropositive mostly varied by habitat, with some influence of sex in the individual-level analyses. Population-level RVNA seroprevalence is dynamic in mongoose populations, but these data may shed light on rabies virus transmission across regions to help inform rabies management activities in Puerto Rico.