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FATAL ENCEPHALITIS CAUSED BY A BAT-BORNE RABIES-RELATED VIRUS
CLINICAL FINDINGS

RISTO O. ROINE , MATTI HILLROM , MARTTI VALLE , MATTI HALTIA , LEENA KETONEN , ERKKI NEUVONEN , JUKKA LUMIO , JUHANI LÄHDEVIRTA
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/111.6.1505 1505-1516 First published online: 1 December 1988

Summary

The clinical findings are described in the first reported European case of fatal encephalitis of bat origin caused by a rabies-related virus. A bat zoologist developed the symptoms of rabies 51 days after his last exposure to a bat bite. The clinical disease of 23 days duration was a combination of the paralytic and ‘furious’ forms of rabies. Serial BAEP and EEG recordings, CT and MR scans of the brain, as well as CSF findings, demonstrated severe ascending destruction of the brain. An unusual progression from isolated brainstem death to cortical brain death occurred. Neuropathologically, the brain showed severe lytic changes. The presence of rabies-related virus antigens in brain smears was shown using a panel of fluorescent antibodies. The virus was inoculated into and isolated from suckling mice. The virus had a close resemblance to European bat rabies isolates, which belong to the group of rabies-related viruses. Of particular concern is whether the virus can spread from bats to terrestrial animals and whether the European type of bat rabies constitutes a danger to man.

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