Peruvian villagers residing in a vampire bat ridden part of the Amazon appear to have developed a resistance to the rabies virus. Individuals tested in two separate villages had the anti-rabies antibody present in their blood suggesting exposure to the virus. It is apparent that the individuals had been bitten, exposed to the virus, and survived without medical intervention. Only one resident from either village reported ever receiving the rabies vaccine.
Previous conventional wisdom would have us believe that rabies is one of the most deadly diseases-killing 100% of its victims. How are the Peruvian villagers escaping this same death sentence? Vampire bats feed off mammalian blood at night in the Amazon region. In the absence of adequate food sources they are known to feed off humans. It is being hypothesized that their gentle bite “may deliver a much lower dose of the virus” in comparison to other larger virus carrying mammals.
The Center for Disease Control warns that this newly discovered resistance does not suggest that medical intervention stops vaccinating against the virus after an animal bite. It is estimated every year that 55,000 people die from exposure to the rabies virus. The public needs to continue to be cautious of exposure to the deadly virus. Further research is needed and is currently being conducted into the immunity that the Peruvian villagers exhibit.
Angeline Latsch (3)