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Published On: Wed, Jan 15th, 2014

Australia: Flying fox tests positive for lyssavirus

A flying fox found in Tomago, New South Wales, has tested positive for Australian Bat Lyssavirus, according to a Newcastle Herald report Tuesday.

Wildlife in Need of Care (WINC) volunteers rescued the animal from a wire fence last week and took it to a local vet, who suspected it was carrying the disease. An autopsy confirmed the diagnosis.

Flying fox Image/Video Screen Shot

Flying fox
Image/Video Screen Shot

According to a post on the WINC Facebook page Jan. 8, “A WINC member collected a Grey headed Flying Fox on Monday from Tomago Road, which the Vet had tested as it was neurologically impaired. The test came back positive for Lyssavirus. That member is vaccinated but few others are. If you’re not vaccinated please stay away from Bats. If you are vaccinated please be vigilant & use all possible personal protection equipment around them.”

This was the third case detected in the past two years in a bat.

An estimated 1 per cent of bats and flying foxes are infected.

According to Queensland Health:

  • Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABL) is closely related to the rabies virus.
  • The best protection against being exposed to the virus is to avoid handling bats or flyingfoxes.
  • There is no known risk of contracting ABL from bats flying overhead, contact with bat urine or faeces or from fruit they may have eaten.  Living, playing or walking near bat roosting areas does not pose a risk of exposure to the virus.
  • A bat bite, scratch or mucous membrane exposure to bat saliva is necessary to transmit the virus. Usually bats do not approach humans, more commonly bat scratches or bites occur if someone is trying to ‘rescue’ an injured, sick or distressed bat.
  • It is recommended that for any person who has been bitten, scratched, or had a mucous membrance exposure to bat saliva that treatment be commenced as soon as possible.Treatment involves a course of vaccinations that are necessary to protect the person against ABL.

For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page and the Outbreak News This Week Radio Show page.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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