Chiropteran Rabies in Florida: A Twenty-Year Analysis, 1954 to 1973

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  • Veterinary Public Health Section and Virology Section, Division of Health, Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, Jacksonville, Florida 32201

Chiropteran rabies in Florida is analyzed for the 20-year period 1954 to 1973. The examination of 6,447 bats between 1954 and 1961 yielded 55 (0.85%) positive animals. From 1962 to 1973 however 2,293 bats examined yielded 236 (10.3%) positive. The yellow bat, Lasiurus intermedius floridanus, accounted for 183 (63.1%) of all cases of chiropteran rabies. Sporadic cases occurred throughout the state with more being reported from the central portion of the state. Cases have been reported every month of the year, peaking in July and August. There were no significant differences in the distribution of rabies in colonial or non-colonial bats by sex or age. There were also no significant differences in the number of reported human and dog contacts made by rabid and non-rabid bats. Clinically ill bats found negative for rabies had a significantly higher contact rate with cats than did rabid bats.