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Endemic Lagos bat virus infection in Eidolon helvum

  • D. T. S. HAYMAN (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), A. R. FOOKS (a2) (a5), J. M. ROWCLIFFE (a3), R. McCREA (a6), O. RESTIF (a1), K. S. BAKER (a1) (a3), D. L. HORTON (a2), R. SUU-IRE (a7), A. A. CUNNINGHAM (a3) and J. L. N. WOOD (a1)...


Phylogenetic analyses suggest lyssaviruses, including Rabies virus, originated from bats. However, the role of bats in the maintenance, transmission and evolution of lyssaviruses is poorly understood. A number of genetically diverse lyssaviruses are present in Africa, including Lagos bat virus (LBV). A high seroprevalence of antibodies against LBV was detected in Eidolon helvum bats. Longitudinal seroprevalence and age-specific seroprevalence data were analysed and capture–mark–recapture (CMR) analysis used to follow 98 bats over 18 months. These data demonstrate endemic infection, with evidence of horizontal transmission, and force of infection was estimated for differing age categories. The CMR analysis found survival probabilities of seronegative and seropositive bats were not significantly different. The lack of increased mortality in seropositive animals suggests infection is not causing disease after extended incubation. These key findings point towards acute transmission of bat lyssaviruses in adapted bat hosts that occurs at a far higher rate than the occurrence of disease.

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Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Dr D. T. S. Hayman, Cambridge Infectious Diseases Consortium, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge, UK. (Email:


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