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Bat rabies surveillance in France: first report of unusual mortality among serotine bats

Abstract : Background: Rabies is a fatal viral encephalitic disease that is caused by lyssaviruses which can affect all mammals, including human and bats. In Europe, bat rabies cases are attributed to five different lyssavirus species, the majority of rabid bats being attributed to European bat 1 lyssavirus (EBLV-1), circulating mainly in serotine bats (Eptesicus serotinus). In France, rabies in bats is under surveillance since 1989, with 77 positive cases reported between 1989 and 2016. Case presentation: In the frame of the bat rabies surveillance, an unusual mortality of serotine bats was reported in 2009 in a village in NorthEast France. Six juvenile bats from an E. serotinus maternity colony counting~200 individuals were found to be infected with EBLV-1. The active surveillance of the colony by capture sessions of bats from July to September 2009 showed a high detection rate of neutralising EBLV-1 antibodies (≈ 50%) in the colony. Moreover, one out of 111 animals tested was found to shed viable virus in saliva, while lyssavirus RNA was detected by RT-PCR for five individuals. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the lyssavirus infection in the serotine maternity colony was followed by a high rate of bat rabies immunity after circulation of the virus in the colony. The ratio of seropositive bats is probably indicative of an efficient virus transmission coupled to a rapid circulation of EBLV-1 in the colony.
Keywords : Rabies EBLV-1 Bat Mortality
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https://hal-anses.archives-ouvertes.fr/anses-03429098
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Submitted on : Monday, November 15, 2021 - 2:28:43 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 18, 2021 - 3:52:24 AM

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Evelyne Picard-Meyer, Alexandre Servat, Marine Wasniewski, Matthieu Gaillard, Christophe Borel, et al.. Bat rabies surveillance in France: first report of unusual mortality among serotine bats. BMC Veterinary Research, BioMed Central, 2017, 13, pp.387. ⟨10.1186/s12917-017-1303-1⟩. ⟨anses-03429098⟩

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