Favourable outcome in a patient bitten by a rabid bat infected with the European bat lyssavirus-1.Acta Clin Belg. 2013 Jan-Feb; 68(1):54-8.AC
The classic rabies virus (genotype 1) has been eliminated in Western Europe, but related lyssaviruses still circulate in local bats. In August 2010, a Belgian photographer was bitten upon provocation of a disoriented Eptesicus serotinus bat in Spain. The bat was infected with European bat lyssavirus-1 (genotype 5). The isolate proved highly neurovirulent in mice. The patient had received preventive rabies immunisations years before the incident and received two boosters with the HDCV rabies vaccine afterwards. Available vaccines are based on the classic rabies virus, which is significantly divergent from the European bat lyssavirus-1. Fortunately, the patient's serological immune response demonstrated satisfactory neutralisation of the 2010 EBLV-1 isolate, using an intracerebral challenge model in mice. Most likely, the patient's life was saved thanks to vaccination with the classic rabies vaccine, which proved sufficiently protective against European bat lyssavirus-1. This case highlights the need for preventive rabies vaccination in people, who come in contact with bats and to seek medical council after a scratch or bite from a bat.