Animal Bite-associated Infections

Microbiology and Treatment

Nicole Thomas; Itzhak Brook


Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2011;9(2):215-226. 

In This Article

Bat Bites

Bat bites are most commonly associated with rabies infection, however there are 11 known species of the Lyssavirus genus. European bat lyssavirus-1 and -2 infections have been detected in humans in the UK and across Europe, with the most northern case reported in Finland.[54,206] In Australia, there have been two cases of encephalitis from Australian bat lyssavirus[36] and in Africa there have been cases of bat-transmitted infection due to the Duvenhage virus.[55,206] The symptoms of these viruses are similar to those of rabies, and are treated in the same manner, although only the Australian bat lyssavirus is preventable by available rabies vaccines and rabies immune globulin (RIG).[206] If a known bat bite occurs, effective postexposure prophylaxis with rabies immunization, as well as RIG is a necessity. Since the injury inflicted by a bat may be small, and may go unnoticed, or the circumstance of contact may preclude accurate recall (i.e., bat in the room while people slept, or bat in the room of an unsupervised child, or mentally disabled or intoxicated person), it is important to give prophylaxis even in these circumstances unless prompt testing of the bat can exclude rabies virus infection.[33]


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