Rabies is a fatal viral encephalitis and results from infection with viruses belonging to the genus Lyssavirus. Infection usually results from a bite from a dog infected with classical rabies virus. However, a small number of cases result from contact with bats. It is within bats that most lyssavirus variants, referred to as genotypes, are found. The lyssaviruses found in bats have a distinct geographical distribution and are often restricted to specific bat species. Most have been associated with rabies in humans and in some cases spill-over to domestic animals. Many diagnostic techniques are unable to differentiate rabies virus from other genotypes so it is possible that some human and animal cases go unreported. Furthermore, current vaccines have limited efficacy against some genotypes.
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