Rabies surveillance in wild mammals in South of Brazil

Aline Alves Scarpellini Campos, Raíssa Nunes dos Santos, Julio A. Benavides, Helena Beatriz de Carvalho Ruthner Batista, Fernando Finoketti, Paulo Guilherme Carniel Wagner, Bruna Zafalon-Silva, Marcelo Alievi, Fabio Branco da Silva, André Witt, Ana Tartarotti, Andrea de Cassia Rodrigues da Silva, Karin Correa Sheffer Ferreira, Ana Paula Guedes Frazzon, Paulo Michel Roehe, Ana Cláudia Franco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The sylvatic cycle of rabies, caused by the Rabies lyssavirus (RABV), is maintained in the American Continent by aerial and terrestrial wild mammals. In this study, we combined passive surveillance of rescued wild animals with active serological surveillance in targeting areas at Rio Grande do Sul State and Santa Catarina State, south of Brazil, where bites of humans by wild animals have been reported. Circulation of RABV in Brazilian bats has been extensively demonstrated; however, the observation of such infections in unvaccinated terrestrial mammals is restricted to some regions of the Brazilian territory. The occurrence of rabies infection in unvaccinated animals has been identified by the detection of RABV antigens in brain tissues of dead animals or anti-rabies antibodies in live animals. Such strategies allow the surveillance of rabies and the assessment of spillover risks from infected animals to humans. Our aim included the identification of species of wild mammals that are involved in the sylvatic cycle of rabies virus in Southern Brazil and to assess the risk of rabies infection in patients bitten by wild animals in the state. To assess the anti-rabies seropositivity, sera were submitted to the Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test (RFFIT). Among the 100 mammals tested, five animals were seropositive (5%) including three (one primate and two wild canids) with rabies virus neutralizing antibodies titres >0.5 IU/ml. Our results highlight the exposure to RABV of both primates and wild canids in Southern Brazil and suggest the occurrence of RABV exposure without the development of further symptoms. Further research should clarify the dynamics of rabies in wild canids and whether primates are accidental hosts or reservoirs for RABV at this region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-913
Number of pages8
JournalTransboundary and Emerging Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019


  • fluorescent inhibition
  • rabies
  • surveillance
  • sylvatic cycle
  • wildlife

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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