Objective—To describe surveillance trends and epidemiologic
features of rabies in bats in the United
States, focusing on 3 bat species primarily associated
with variants of the rabies virus that affect humans.
Procedure—Data on rabies for bats identified to
species and reported by state laboratories from 1993
to 2000 were analyzed, focusing on silver-haired,
eastern pipistrelle, and Brazilian free-tailed bats.
Categoric variables were derived from other provided
Results—Data were reported from 37 states during
the study interval; complete species-specific data
were not reported by any state for the entire interval.
Bats primarily associated with rabies virus variants
affecting humans were more likely to yield positive
test results for rabies (22.7%), compared with all
other bats (5.5%) in most seasons and from most
regions of the United States. However, certain other
bat species had higher percentages of positive
results. Risk of positive results was highest in the fall
and highest among bats originating in the southwestern
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Increased
risk of rabies among certain groups of bat species
was consistently found across seasons and most
geographic regions of the United States. Results
were in general agreement with those of previous
studies conducted within smaller geographic regions.
There are ongoing efforts to improve surveillance of
rabies in bats, although surveillance is incomplete in
some regions. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;222: