Australian Bat Lyssavirus detected in small percent of bats
Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) was detected in a small percent (2.9%) of bats tested in Australia in 2012 (AHWN 2013). The bats that are tested are a very select group of flying foxes and microbats that are behaving abnormally, injured or come into contact with people or their pets. There are no current figures on how common ABLV is in the wild bat population. Of the 122 flying foxes tested 5 (4.1%) were positive for ABLV. This figure is typical for flying foxes that come into contact with humans and are tested for ABLV. It highlights that although the risk of acquiring ABLV from a bat bite is low, everyone bitten or scratched by a bat, should wash the wound and seek medical attention.
New findings include the first ABLV positive record from Adelaide. This highlights that the advice to avoid handling bats is relevant for any area of Australia.
The death of a young boy from ABLV in February emphasise the importance of everyone who is bitten or scratched by a bat seeking medical advice. The post-exposure regime is provided free of charge by all state and territory governments.
Posted by Rick Speare