An outbreak of vampire bat bite in a Brazilian village


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

August 1993


An outbreak of 26 cases of vampire bat bite in one month in the rural area of Honorópolis, a Brazilian village, is reported. All patients were bitten during the night, when they were asleep, and most bites were on their toes. No complication attributed to the bite was reported. The patients were given prophylactic antirabies serum and rabies vaccine. Control of the outbreak was achieved by visiting bat roosting sites, smearing captured vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) with a paste of 2% warfarin in vaseline, and releasing them. No case of human or animal rabies was diagnosed in a 5-month follow-up. A possible explanation for the outbreak of bat bite is that, because of man-induced environmental modifications in their habitats, vampire bats in Honorópolis now live in the peridomiciliar area, where people are more exposed to their bites. An alternative explanation is related to the use in cattle of a pyrethroid insecticide to control the horn fly, Haematobia irritans, as both events were temporally related. The insecticide could have had a repellent effect on bats, that then started to seek alternative food sources.


Rabies, Vampire Bats, Vampire Bat, Desmondus Rotundus, Human, Man, Cattle, Horn Fly, Haematobia Irritans, Bats, Serum, Warfarin

Document Type