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    Tacaribe virus (TCRV) was isolated in the 1950s from artibeus bats captured on the island of Trinidad. The initial characterization of TCRV suggested that artibeus bats were natural reservoir hosts. However, nearly 60 years later experimental infections of Jamaican fruit bats (Artibeus jamaicensis) resulted in fatal disease or clearance, suggesting artibeus bats may not be a reservoir host. To further evaluate the TCRV reservoir host status of artibeus bats, we captured bats of six species in Trinidad for evidence of infection. Bats of all four fruigivorous species captured had antibodies to TCRV nucleocapsid, whereas none of the insectivore or nectarivore species did. Many flat-faced fruit-eating bats (A. planirostris) and great fruit-eating bats (A. literatus) were seropositive by ELISA and western blot to TCRV nucleocapsid antigen, as were two of four Seba's fruit bats (Carollia perspicillata) and two of three yellow-shouldered fruit bats (Sturnira lilium). Serum neutralization tests failed to detect neutralizing antibodies to TCRV from these bats. TCRV RNA was not detected in lung tissues or lung homogenates inoculated onto Vero cells. These data indicate that TCRV or a similar arenavirus continues to circulate among fruit bats of Trinidad but there was no evidence of persistent infection, suggesting artibeus bats are not reservoir hosts.


    Ashley Malmlov, Janine Seetahal, Christine Carrington, Vernie Ramkisson, Jerome Foster, Kerri L Miazgowicz, Sandra Quackenbush, Joel Rovnak, Oscar Negrete, Vincent Munster, Tony Schountz. Serological evidence of arenavirus circulation among fruit bats in Trinidad. PloS one. 2017;12(9):e0185308

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    PMID: 28953976

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