Understanding human – bat interactions in NSW, Australia: improving risk communication for prevention of Australian bat lyssavirus

 BACKGROUND: Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) infects a number of flying fox and insectivorous bats species in Australia. Human infection with ABLV is inevitably fatal unless prior vaccination and/or post-exposure treatment (PET) is given. Despite ongoing public health messaging about the risks associated with bat contact, surveillance data have revealed a four-fold increase in the number of people receiving PET for bat exposure in NSW between 2007 and 2011. Our study aimed to better understand these human – bat interactions in order to identify additional risk communication messages that could lower the risk of potential ABLV exposure. All people aged 18 years or over whom received PET for non-occupation related potential ABLV exposure in the Hunter New England Local Health District of Australia between July 2011 and July 2013 were considered eligible for the study. Eligible participants were invited to a telephone interview to explore the circumstances of their bat contact. Interviews were then transcribed and thematically analysed by two independent investigators. Continue reading Understanding human – bat interactions in NSW, Australia: improving risk communication for prevention of Australian bat lyssavirus

Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs

Baby bat suckes from bottle3The detection of Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) in two horses on a Queensland property is a concern for veterinarians and horse owners alike, according to the Australian Veterinary Association.

Biosecurity Queensland quarantined a property in the Southern Downs last month after a horse tested positive for ABLV – the first known case of ABLV in this species.

According to a statement by NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth, the yearling was initially off-colour with subtle signs of dullness and ataxia. Its condition deteriorated over a period of days, demonstrating marked ataxia, head-pressing, dysphagia, hypermetria and a rectal temperature of 39°C. Within four days the horse struggled to stand. The animal drank but did not eat, and had a heart rate of 60 beats per minute. Hendra virus testing returned negative.

Five days after initial presentation the horse developed seizures and was euthanased by the veterinarian, who performed a necropsy. Histopathology of the brain revealed severe diffuse non-purulent encephalitis and myelitis. Because this finding can be seen with ABLV, testing was undertaken. Other differentials included Hendra virus, tetanus and flavivirus (thought to be possible due to a local surge of mosquitos in the preceding month). The animal tested positive for ABLV. Continue reading Veterinarians urged to consider ABLV in horses with neurological signs