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Rabies due to two independent and different genotypes of lyssaviruses - European bat lyssaviruses (EBLV) type 1 and type 2 - is present in many European countries. Infection is usually seen in bats, the primary reservoirs of the viruses but a few spillover infections have been seen in three other species: stone martens, sheep and humans. Spillover infections (with the exception of the two human cases) were EBLV-1 only. No EBLV-2 spillover cases have been reported in terrestrial animals. The disease is fatal in humans and has been described in Europe following a bat bite. We have studied in the available literature EBLV rabies cases across Europe in bats and humans, and have also carried out an analysis of recommendations for rabies prevention and treatments in humans. Rabies pre-exposure vaccination and post-exposure treatment is recommended for occupationally exposed persons. Some European countries have already adopted recommendations through specific protocols. Treatment of international travellers after bat bites is also recommended. The promoting of research programmes on bat rabies in Europe is underway. Bats are listed as protected species across Europe.


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