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First isolation of a rabies-related virus from a Daubenton's bat in the United Kingdom
  1. J. E. Whitby, PhD, BSc, BA1,
  2. P. R. Heaton, PhD, BSc2,
  3. E. M. Black, MSc, BSc3,
  4. M. Wooldridge, BVetMed,MSc, PhD, DLSHTM,MRCVS4,
  5. L. M. McElhinney, PhD,BSc4 and
  6. P. Johnstone, PhD, BSc5
  1. 1 The Wellcome Trust, 183 Euston Road, London NWI 2BE
  2. 2 Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, Freeby Lane, Waltham-on-the-Wolds, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 4RT
  3. 3 Pathobiology, Chemical and Biological Defence, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire
  4. 4 Veterinary Laboratories Agency - Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KTl5 3NB
  5. 5 Communicable Diseases Branch, Department of Health, Skipton House, 80 London Road, London SEI 6LH


On May 30, 1996, a sick Daubenton's bat (Myotis daubentonii) was recovered from the cellar of a public house in Newhaven, East Sussex. Its condition deteriorated rapidly, and it was euthanased and examined. Positive results, establishing the presence of a rabies or rabies-related virus in its brain, were obtained from the fluorescent antibody test, the rabies tissue culture isolation test, and a hemi-nested reversetranscription PCR. The complete sequence of the nucleoprotein gene was determined and a phylogenetic analysis, based on the 470 nucleotide bases of the amino terminus of the nucleoprotein, established the genotype of the virus as European bat lyssavirus 2. Bat rabies had not previously been recorded in the UK but does occur in mainland Europe. A study of the back-trajectories of the wind on May 29 and 30, established that the infected bat possibly came from near the Franco-Swiss border.

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