Australian bat lyssavirus infection

Last updated: July 8, 2022

Summarytoggle arrow icon

Australian bat lyssavirus infection is an extremely rare rabies-like condition that is endemic to Australia. It is caused by infection with the Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) that is transmitted via infected bats (e.g., bites, scratches). After an incubation period of 3–8 weeks, ABLV infection manifests with flu-like symptoms (e.g., headache, fever, fatigue), followed 1–2 weeks later by severe symptoms, including altered state of consciousness, convulsions, paralysis, and hydrophobia.Diagnosis is confirmed through PCR. Like rabies, ABLV infection is fatal once it breaks out. All animal bites and scratches should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. If exposure to ABLV is suspected (i.e., wounds from bats), postexposure prophylaxis using human rabies immunoglobulin and/or rabies vaccine should be initiated immediately.

Definitiontoggle arrow icon

ABLV is an rabies-like condition endemic to Australia that is transmitted via infected bats.

Epidemiologytoggle arrow icon

  • Extremely rare [1]
  • Individuals who have contact with bats (e.g., due to occupation) are at higher risk.

Epidemiological data refers to the US, unless otherwise specified.

Etiologytoggle arrow icon

Clinical featurestoggle arrow icon

Diagnosticstoggle arrow icon

Diagnosis of ABLV infection can be made by PCR.

Treatmenttoggle arrow icon

Prognosistoggle arrow icon

Untreated ABLV infection is fatal. [1]

Preventiontoggle arrow icon

Referencestoggle arrow icon

  1. Merritt T, Taylor K, Cox-Witton K, et al. Australian bat lyssavirus. Australian Journal of General Practice. 2018; 47 (3): p.93-96.doi: 10.31128/afp-08-17-4314 . | Open in Read by QxMD

Icon of a lock3 free articles remaining

You have 3 free member-only articles left this month. Sign up and get unlimited access.
 Evidence-based content, created and peer-reviewed by physicians. Read the disclaimer