Determination of freedom-from-rabies for small Indian mongoose populations in the United States Virgin islands, 2019-2020.
Mongooses, a nonnative species, are a known reservoir of rabies virus in the Caribbean region. A cross-sectional study of mongooses at 41 field sites on the US Virgin Islands of St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas captured 312 mongooses (32% capture rate). We determined the absence of rabies virus by antigen testing and rabies virus exposure by antibody testing in mongoose populations on all three islands. USVI is the first Caribbean state to determine freedom-from-rabies for its mongoose populations with a scientifically-led robust cross-sectional study. Ongoing surveillance activities will determine if other domestic and wildlife populations in USVI are rabies-free.