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Isolation of a European bat lyssavirus type 2 from a Daubenton's bat in the United Kingdom
  1. N. Johnson, PhD1,
  2. D. Selden1,
  3. G. Parsons1,
  4. D. Healy, MSc1,
  5. S. M. Brookes, PhD1,
  6. L. M. McElhinney, PhD1,
  7. A. M. Hutson1 and
  8. A. R. Fooks, PhD1
  1. 1 Rabies Research and Diagnostic Group, Veterinary Laboratories Agency — Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB

Abstract

European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2) has been isolated once previously from a bat in the UK in June 1996. In September 2002, a Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonif) found in Lancashire developed abnormal behaviour, including unprovoked aggression, while it was in captivity. Brain samples from the bat were tested for virus of the Lyssavirus genus, which includes EBLV-2 (genotype 6), and classical rabies virus (genotype 1). A positive fluorescent antibody test confirmed that it was infected with a lyssavirus, and PCR and genomic sequencing identified the virus as an EBLV-2a. Phylogenetic comparisons with all the published sequences from genotype 6 showed that it was closely related to the previous isolate of EBLV-2 in the UK and suggested links to isolates from bats in the Netherlands. The isolation of EBLV-2 from a bat found on the west coast of England provides evidence that this virus may be present within the UK Daubenton's bat population at a low prevalence level.

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