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bAT "Rabies": UK

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    Posted: October 16 2018 at 3:27pm
Rabies warning as deadly virus returns to Britain after years of being rabies-free

It is the first time the European Bat Lyssavirus 1 virus has ever been confirmed in the UK after a tiny Serotine bat was discovered carrying the dreaded germs in Dorset

A health warning has been issued after the deadly rabies virus was found in a dead bat.

The UK has remained rabies-free for years even though the dreaded disease turns up as close as France.

But it has been found in the body of a tiny bat weighing little more than a 50p coin at a secret location in Dorset.

Public Health England is now urging GPs to consider giving rabies injections to any of their patients who are routinely exposed to bats.

Officials said rabies showed up in the form of European Bat Lyssavirus 1 (EBLV-1) which was detected in a dead Serotine bat.

Serotine bats are native to the UK. It is the first time this particular virus has ever been confirmed in the UK.

PHE warned that the bat rabies virus 'is related to the classical rabies virus and can lead to clinical rabies in humans'.

Officials advised that 'any person exposed to any type of bat in the UK should receive a prompt risk assessment and may require post-exposure treatment with rabies vaccine'.

Exposure means a bite, scratch or contact with bat saliva. Every year, around 150 people in England receive NHS treatment after being bitten by a bat.

PHE said the 'risk of catching rabies from a bat is very low' however the statement added that in the UK in 2002, a man died from rabies he contracted from a bat.

He had been infected with the EBLV-2 virus, which has previously been detected in Daubenton's bats in the UK.

A PHE spokesman said:"As many people will not know what type of bat they've been in contact with, we provide rabies vaccine to people who have been bitten by any type of bat in the UK as a precautionary measure.”

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