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Dengue Virus in Bats from Southeastern Mexico

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  • Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, Distrito Federal, México; Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica; EcoHealth Alliance, New York, New York; Unidad de Investigación Médica en Inmunología, Coordinación de Investigación en Salud, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, México, Distrito Federal, México; Red Ambiente y Sustentabilidad, Instituto de Ecología AC, Veracruz, México; Laboratorio de Medicina de Conservación, Escuela Superior de Medicina, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, México, Distrito Federal, México; Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia; Smithsonian–Mason School of Conservation, Front Royal, Virginia

To identify the relationship between landscape use and dengue virus (DENV) occurrence in bats, we investigated the presence of DENV from anthropogenically changed and unaltered landscapes in two Biosphere Reserves: Calakmul (Campeche) and Montes Azules (Chiapas) in southern Mexico. Spleen samples of 146 bats, belonging to 16 species, were tested for four DENV serotypes with standard reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) protocols. Six bats (4.1%) tested positive for DENV-2: four bats in Calakmul (two Glossophaga soricina, one Artibeus jamaicensis, and one A. lituratus) and two bats in Montes Azules (both A. lituratus). No effect of anthropogenic disturbance on the occurrence of DENV was detected; however, all three RT-PCR–positive bat species are considered abundant species in the Neotropics and well-adapted to disturbed habitats. To our knowledge, this study is the first study conducted in southeastern Mexico to identify DENV-2 in bats by a widely accepted RT-PCR protocol. The role that bats play on DENV's ecology remains undetermined.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Jesús Sotomayor-Bonilla, Universidad 3000, Colonia Ciudad Universitaria, México, Distrito Federal, Mexico 03310. E-mail: chuchomayor16@gmail.com

Financial support: This research was supported by funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Emerging Pandemic Threats PREDICT Project. The Medical Immunology Research Unit, Health Research Coordination Office, Mexican Institute for Social Security supported the RNA extraction. The Genetic Conservation Laboratory, Biology School, University of Costa Rica supported diagnostic tests. The Conservation Medicine Laboratory of the National Polytechnic Institute supported confirmation tests. J.S.-B. was supported by CONACYT Grant 303956.

Authors' addresses: Jesús Sotomayor-Bonilla, Oscar Rico-Chávez, Rafael Ojeda-Flores, and Gerardo Suzán, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México—Etología, Fauna Silvestre y Animales de Laboratorio, México, DF, Mexico, E-mails: chuchomayor16@gmail.com, orichvet@gmail.com, ojeda_rafael@yahoo.com.mx, and gerardosuz@gmail.com. Andrea Chaves, Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica Laboratorio de Genética de la Conservación, San José, Costa Rica, E-mail: andreachaves.biol@gmail.com. Melinda K. Rostal and Peter Daszak, EcoHealth Alliance, New York, NY, E-mails: rostal@ecohealthalliance.org and daszak@ecohealthalliance.org. Mónica Salas-Rojas and Álvaro Aguilar-Setien, Coordinación de Investigación en Salud, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Unidad de Investigación Médica en Inmunología, México, DF, Mexico, E-mails: mony_salas@yahoo.com.mx and varoaguila@prodigy.net.mx. Sergio Ibáñez-Bernal, Instituto de Ecología AC, Red Ambiente y Sustentabilidad, Xalapa, Mexico, E-mail: sibanber@gmail.com. Arturo Barbachano-Guerrero, Gustavo Gutiérrez-Espeleta, and J. Leopoldo Aguilar-Faisal, Escuela Superior de Medicina, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Laboratorio de Medicina de Conservación, México, DF, Mexico, E-mails: abarbachanog@gmail.com, gutierrezespeleta@gmail.com, and leopoldoaguilar@hotmail.com. A. Alonso Aguirre, Smithsonian–Mason School of Conservation, Front Royal, VA, E-mail: aaguirr3@gmu.edu.

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