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Passive surveillance of United Kingdom bats for lyssaviruses (2005–2015)

  • E. L. WISE (a1), D. A. MARSTON (a1), A. C. BANYARD (a1), H. GOHARRIZ (a1), D. SELDEN (a1), N. MACLAREN (a1), T. GODDARD (a1), N. JOHNSON (a1), L. M. MCELHINNEY (a1) (a2), A. BROUWER (a1), J.N. AEGERTER (a3), G.C. SMITH (a3), D. L. HORTON (a4), A. C. BREED (a1) and A.R. FOOKS (a1) (a2)...

Summary

Passive surveillance for lyssaviruses in UK bats has been ongoing since 1987 and has identified 13 cases of EBLV-2 from a single species; Myotis daubentonii. No other lyssavirus species has been detected. Between 2005 and 2015, 10 656 bats were submitted, representing 18 species, creating a spatially and temporally uneven sample of British bat fauna. Uniquely, three UK cases originate from a roost at Stokesay Castle in Shropshire, England, where daily checks for grounded and dead bats are undertaken and bat carcasses have been submitted for testing since 2007. Twenty per cent of Daubenton's bats submitted from Stokesay Castle since surveillance began, have tested positive for EBLV-2. Phylogenetic analysis reveals geographical clustering of UK viruses. Isolates from Stokesay Castle are more closely related to one another than to viruses from other regions. Daubenton's bats from Stokesay Castle represent a unique opportunity to study a natural population that appears to maintain EBLV-2 infection and may represent endemic infection at this site. Although the risk to public health from EBLV-2 is low, consequences of infection are severe and effective communication on the need for prompt post-exposure prophylaxis for anyone that has been bitten by a bat is essential.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence: Prof. A. R. Fooks, Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA, Weybridge), New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK. (E-mail: Tony.Fooks@apha.gsi.gov.uk)

Footnotes

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Current address: Public Health England, Porton Down, Salisbury, UK.

Current address: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Footnotes

References

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