The decimating effects of bovine paralytic (vampire) rabies in Latin America have been recorded on many occasions since the diagnosis was first established some 50 years ago by Haupt and Rehaag in southern Brazil. Rabid vampire bats cause an estimated 500,000 cattle deaths a year in Latin America, with 90,000 to 100,000 of these occurring in Mexico. Although the disease is one of the area's most important animal health problems, no epizootiological studies on it have been published, and up to now there have been no detailed incidence estimates. The only study on the location of outbreaks was made in 1936 by de Verteuil and Urich in Trinidad.
In Mexico (where the disease is commonly called “derriengue”) attempts have been made on a country-wide basis to find out in which areas most vampire bites occur and the approximate total number of cases per year (the first as determined by reports of screwworm infestations after vampire bites and the second by the amount of bovine rabies vaccine distributed).
Present address: Cuauhtemoc 26 bis Mexico 21, D. F., Mexico.
Present address: Laboratory Investigations Unit, Viral Zoonoses Section, Center for Disease Control, Health Services and Mental Health Administration, Public Health Service, U. S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, P. O. Box 363, Lawrenceville, Georgia 30245. This work was done while Dr. Baer was a CDC-PAHO Consultant to the Institute.