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J Gen Virol. 2008 Nov;89(Pt 11):2662-72. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.2008/003889-0.

Experimental study of European bat lyssavirus type-2 infection in Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentonii).

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  • 1Rabies and Wildlife Zoonoses Group, WHO Collaborating Centre for the Characterisation of Rabies and Rabies-Related Viruses, Veterinary Laboratories Agency - Weybridge, Woodham Lane, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK.


European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) can be transmitted from Daubenton's bats to humans and cause rabies. EBLV-2 has been repeatedly isolated from Daubenton's bats in the UK but appears to be present at a low level within the native bat population. This has prompted us to investigate the disease in its natural host under experimental conditions, to assess its virulence, dissemination and likely means of transmission between insectivorous bats. With the exception of direct intracranial inoculation, only one of seven Daubenton's bats inoculated by subdermal inoculation became infected with EBLV-2. Both intramuscular and intranasal inoculation failed to infect the bats. No animal inoculated with EBLV-2 seroconverted during the study period. During infection, virus excretion in saliva (both viral RNA and live virus) was confirmed up to 3 days before the development of rabies. Disease was manifested as a gradual loss of weight prior to the development of paralysis and then death. The highest levels of virus were measured in the brain, with much lower levels of viral genomic RNA detected in the tongue, salivary glands, kidney, lung and heart. These observations are similar to those made in naturally infected Daubenton's bats and this is the first documented report of isolation of EBLV-2 in bat saliva. We conclude that EBLV-2 is most likely transmitted in saliva by a shallow bite.

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