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


Rabies Virus Serosurvey of the Small Indian Mongoose (i>Urva auropunctata) across Multiple Habitats in Puerto Rico, 2014-21

Are R. Berentsen, USDA National Wildlife Research Center
Mel J. Rivers-Rodriguez, USDA National Wildlife Research Center
Fabiola B. Torres-Toledo, USDA National Wildlife Research Center
Amy J. Davis, USDA National Wildlife Research Center
Richard B. Chipman, USDA National Wildlife Research Center
Amy T. Gilbert, USDA National Wildlife Research Center

Document Type Article

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 2014-21. 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.