[Human rabies encephalitis by a vampire bat bite in an urban area of Colombia]

Biomedica. 2009 Jun;29(2):191-203.
[Article in Spanish]


Human rabies encephalitis by a vampire bat bite in an urban area of Colombia A case of rabies encephalitis is presented in a teenaged male, which developed four months after a bat bite in the urban area of Floridablanca, Santander Province, Colombia. The complex clinical manifestations prevented the confirmation of an antemortem diagnosis, principally because of the lengthy incubation period and the absence of other similar urban cases. Despite application of several therapies, including the Milwaukee protocol, the patient died 19 days after hospital admission. The autopsy revealed a necrotic, acute, pan-encephalitis of rabies virus etiology. The test of direct immunofluorescence in brain tissue was positive, as well as the biologic test in mice. Serological tests indicated it to be an antigenic variant type 3, whose main reservoir is the hematophagous vampire bat, Desmodus rotundus. This is probably the first case of bat-induced rabies reported in an urban community of Colombia and one of the few in Latin America. Although rabies encephalitis by a bat bite is rare, the case serves as a notice to health authorities and to the medical community to be alert to this risk.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • Bites and Stings / complications
  • Bites and Stings / virology*
  • Chiroptera / virology*
  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Contraindications
  • Dengue / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Disease Reservoirs*
  • Encephalitis, Viral / epidemiology
  • Encephalitis, Viral / etiology
  • Encephalitis, Viral / pathology
  • Encephalitis, Viral / virology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Hand Injuries / virology
  • Humans
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Poisoning / diagnosis
  • Rabies / diagnosis
  • Rabies / epidemiology
  • Rabies / pathology
  • Rabies / transmission*
  • Rabies / virology
  • Rabies virus / immunology
  • Rabies virus / isolation & purification*
  • Tonsillitis / diagnosis
  • Urban Health
  • Wound Infection / virology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones