Editorials

Bat rabies

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7392.726 (Published 05 April 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:726

All bat handlers should be immunised

  1. Derrick Pounder, professor of forensic medicine
  1. Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN

    The death from rabies of a bat conservationist in Dundee last year was the first fatality since 1902 from rabies acquired in the United Kingdom. The lethal virus, isolated from brain tissue at autopsy, was not the classical rabies virus but a closely related negative stranded RNA virus, the European bat lyssavirus type 2.1 The genus lyssavirus, named after the Greek for “frenzy,” includes the classic rabies virus, two European bat lyssaviruses, an Australian bat lyssavirus, and the African Duvenhage virus, all of which produce a similar fatal encephalomyelitis in humans—rabies.

    Rabies is mainly transmitted in saliva during a bite from an infected animal. In the United Kingdom classic rabies …

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