Bat lyssavirus infections

Rev Sci Tech. 2000 Apr;19(1):177-96. doi: 10.20506/rst.19.1.1221.


Bats, which represent approximately 24% of all known mammalian species, frequently act as vectors of lyssaviruses. In particular, insectivorous bats play an important role in the epidemiology of rabies and some rabies-like viruses, while the haematophagous vampire bats are the major wildlife vector for rabies in Latin America. In contrast, the role of fruit bats (flying foxes) in the epidemiology of the recently discovered Australian bat lyssavirus is only just emerging. Information on the pathogenesis of lyssaviruses in bats is scarce. However, in general, mortality in bats infected via a natural route appears to be low, and seroconversion occurs in many of those that survive. While transmission of rabies from an infected bat may be via a bite, other routes are apparently also possible. Methods for the diagnosis of bat lyssavirus infections in bats and terrestrial mammals (including humans) are similar to the classical procedures for rabies. Measures for the prevention and control of these diseases are also similar to those for rabies, although additional innovative methods have been tested, specifically to control vampire bat rabies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chiroptera*
  • Disease Vectors*
  • Humans
  • Lyssavirus* / classification
  • Lyssavirus* / genetics
  • Lyssavirus* / physiology
  • Lyssavirus* / ultrastructure
  • Rabies / diagnosis
  • Rabies / epidemiology
  • Rabies / therapy
  • Rabies / transmission
  • Rhabdoviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Rhabdoviridae Infections / epidemiology*
  • Rhabdoviridae Infections / therapy
  • Rhabdoviridae Infections / transmission
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology
  • Zoonoses / transmission*
  • Zoonoses / virology