The existence of rabies in bats in South and Central America has been known since the early part of this century. Pawan (1936) has recognized the infection in species of fruit eating bats of the genera Artibeus, Carollia, Dididuras and Phyllostoma in addition to the vampire bats. Johnson (1948) reports that both he and Ten Broeck isolated rabies virus from the vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus, in Mexico.
Bat rabies in the United States was first recognized by personnel of the Florida State Department of Health. Venters et al. (1954) isolated the rabies virus from a Florida yellow bat, Dasypterus floridanus, which was killed while attacking a child. Subsequently, the same investigators, loc. cit., found a second positive species (Seminole bat, Lasiurus seminolus) as well as five other infected D. floridanus.
Recovery of rabies virus from a third insectivorous species (hoary bat, L. cinereus) in Pennsylvania has been reported by Witte (1954).