Experimental infection of foxes with European Bat Lyssaviruses type-1 and 2.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Since 1954, there have been in excess of 800 cases of rabies as a result of European Bat Lyssaviruses types 1 and 2 (EBLV-1, EBLV-2) infection, mainly in Serotine and Myotis bats respectively. These viruses have rarely been reported to infect humans and terrestrial mammals, as the only exceptions are sheep in Denmark, a stone marten in Germany and a cat in France. The purpose of this study was to investigate the susceptibility of foxes to EBLVs using silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes) as a model. RESULTS: Our experimental studies have shown that the susceptibility of foxes to EBLVs is low by the intramuscular (IM) route, however, animals were sensitive to intracranial (IC) inoculation. Mortality was 100% for both EBLV-1 approximately 4.5 logs) and EBLV-2 (approximately 3.0 logs) delivered by the IC route. Virus dissemination and inflammatory infiltrate in the brain were demonstrated but virus specific neutralising antibody (VNA) was limited (log(ED50) = 0.24-2.23 and 0.95-2.39 respectively for specific EBLV-1 and EBLV-2). Foxes were also susceptible, at a low level, to peripheral (IM) infection approximately 3.0 logs) with EBLV-1 but not EBLV-2. Three out of 21 (14.3%) foxes developed clinical signs between 14 and 24 days post-EBLV-1 infection. None of the animals given EBLV-2 developed clinical disease. CONCLUSION: These data suggest that the chance of a EBLV spill-over from bat to fox is low, but with a greater probability for EBLV-1 than for EBLV-2 and that foxes seem to be able to clear the virus before it reaches the brain and cause a lethal infection.
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Florence Cliquet, Evelyne Picard-Meyer, Jacques Barrat, Sharon M Brookes, Derek M Healy, et al.. Experimental infection of foxes with European Bat Lyssaviruses type-1 and 2.. BMC Veterinary Research, BioMed Central, 2009, 5, pp.19. ⟨10.1186/1746-6148-5-19⟩. ⟨hal-00502933⟩

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