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Humans in Peruvian Amazon Develop Resistance to Rabies

869961524_570ed985ff_zFlickr I Lee Carson

Untreated rabies infection can be fatal to many living in Latin America because of high-risk exposure to bat bites and a relatively expensive vaccine. A new study in the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene points to a promising new discovery. It reports that amongst the population of two tribes living in the Peruvian Amazon, approximately 11% of people had rabies virus neutralizing antibodies (rVNAs) naturally occurring in their sera. The researchers conclude, “it is evident that a substantial fraction of the human population living in remote areas of the Peruvian Amazon experiences regular depredation by vampire bats and likely exposure to RABV…Regardless, it is plausible that some individuals experience nonfatal exposure to RABV by vampire bat bites, with subsequent exposures leading to an immunological boost or anamnestic response.”

Read it in The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.