- Australian bat lyssavirus
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Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) (initially named pteropid lyssavirus PLV) is a zoonotic
virusclosely related to rabiesvirus. It was first identified in a 5-month old juvenile Black flying fox(" Pteropus alecto") collected near Ballina in northern New South Wales, Australiain 1996 during a national surveillance program for the recently identified Hendra virus. ABLV is the seventh member of the lyssavirusgenus (which includes rabies virus) and the only one present in Australia.
ABLV is distributed throughout Australia in a variety of bat species which are believed to be the primary reservoir for the virus. Two strains of the virus exist, one occurring in insectivorous bats and the other in fruit bats.
ABLV has caused two human deaths. The first occurred in November 1996 when an animal carer was scratched by a yellow-bellied sheathtailed bat. Onset of a rabies-like illness occurred 4-5 weeks following the incident, with death twenty days later. ABLV was identified from brain tissue by PCR and
In August 1996, a woman in Queensland was bitten on the finger by a
flying foxwhile attempting to remove it from a child it had landed on. Six months later, following heightened public attention from the first ABLV death, she consulted a GP regarding testing for the virus. Post exposure treatment was advised but declined. After a 27 month incubation a rabies-like illness developed. The condition worsened after hospital admission and she died 19 days after the onset of illness. This length of incubation is unusual with typical incubation periods for classical rabies of less than 90 days.
vaccineand immunoglobulinare effective in prophylactic and therapeutic protection from ABLV infection. Since the emergence of the virus, rabies vaccine is administered to individuals with a heightened risk of exposure and vaccine and immunoglobulin are provided for post exposure treatment.
ABLV is one of four zoonotic viruses discovered in Pteropid bats since 1994, the others being
Hendra virus, Nipah virusand Menangle virus. Of these, ABLV is the only virus known to be transmissible to humans directly from bats without an intermediate host.
* [http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-pubs-other-bat_lyssa.htm Australian Bat Lyssavirus information documents - Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA)]
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