Peruvian vampire bats carry silent strain of rabies

Courtesy of the Greenhall's Trust - WI
Courtesy of the Greenhall's Trust - WI

In Peru, vampire bats are increasingly biting people, and death is often the result of their normally innocuous bites. Researchers are exploring the possibility that the bats are carrying a strain of rabies known as paralytic or dumb rabies, which causes disorientation, muscle weakness, then death.

The vampire bats normally stick to biting wildlife or livestock, but as more people infringe on their habitat, through deforestation and agriculture, the growing bat population turns to them as another food source.

Research is focusing on how the disease persists in the bat population, and also on where it is located, so that health authorities may know where people will need to be vaccinated against this particular strain of rabies.