Resistance of the opossum to rabies virus

Beamer, P.D.; Mohr, C.O.; Barr, T.R.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 21: 507-510


ISSN/ISBN: 0002-9645
PMID: 13797881
Document Number: 3168
Of 34 opossums inoculated with varying quantities of 3 different strains of rabies virus by a variety of routes, only 4 showed signs of disease affecting the central nervous system and a transmissible agent lethal for mice was recovered from only 1. Negative results obtained after large doses of virus had been inoculated intramuscularly into 3 opossums suggest that the opossum is highly resistant to rabies. In the 4 experiments described, 8 opossums were inoculated intracerebrally with rabies virus. Two of these developed a disease with central nervous involvement even though the amount of virus inoculated was considerably less than that administered by other routes into many others which survived. This disease was not identified. However, it is possible that it represents atypical rabies in the opossum. If so, intracerebral inoculation may be a more reliable method of infecting the opossum. Even by this route, infection would appear to be inconsistent or erratic. Further studies will be required to determine the most reliable method of causing infection, if indeed rabies can be reproduced in the opossum.

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Resistance of the opossum to rabies virus