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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

Australian Bat Lyssavirus: examination of post-exposure treatment in NSW Volume 19 Issue 5-6

Ben Ewald, David Durrheim

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 19(6) 104–107 Published online: 26 June 2008

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About the author/s

Ben Ewald

David Durrheim


Ten years after the recognition of Australian Bat Lyssavirus, it is timely to review the occurrence of the virus in native microbat and flying fox species in Australia, and the effectiveness of post-exposure treatment in humans. Differences between post-exposure treatment protocols adopted by state and territory health departments were examined. In Queensland and the United States of America, post-exposure treatment is withheld in people who are bitten by bats that subsequently test negative for ABLV and rabies, respectively. The good outcomes from these protocols support the revised NSW policy, which delays post-exposure treatment for up to 48 hours for minor exposures while awaiting bat test results. Post-exposure treatment can be withheld or ceased if the bat test result is negative.