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A sixty-year-old lost his life after contracting rabies. He was allegedly bitten or scratched by a bat nesting in his attic.
Bats can transmit rabies.
A man died of rabies in central France, presumably after being bitten or scratched by a bat that nested in his attic, we learned from the Institut Pasteur on Wednesday, according to whom he this is a first in mainland France. The sexagenarian had succumbed in Limoges to encephalitis – an inflammation of the brain – of unexplained origin, in August 2019.
A partnership between the Parisian Necker Hospital and the Institut Pasteur, aimed at identifying the causes of undocumented encephalitis, has led to the genetic analysis of post-mortem samples. These analyzes showed that he had contracted a lyssavirus, European Bat LyssaVirus type 1 (EBLV-1), harbored by bats.
“It is thanks to this retrospective diagnosis that this case was brought to light. This shows that there are cases of rabies that can be missed, ”Laurent Dacheux, deputy head of the National Reference Center for Rabies at the Institut Pasteur, told AFP.
“This is a first”
This exceptional case was finally mentioned in a popular science article on the mesvaccins.net site and highlighted by the regional daily. The People of the Center. Concerning the European bat, “it has been 35 years since a death of this type occurred in the world. And in mainland France, this is indeed a first, ”assures Laurent Dacheux.
“We had an identical death in 1985 in Russia. Two other deaths concerning bats (note: scientists studying bats), in which another species of bat lyssavirus, EBLV-2, was involved in 1985 in Finland and another in Scotland in 2002 “, He added, considering that” the patient who died in Limoges has apparently been in contact with bats which nested in his attic “.
In France, rabies has been officially eradicated since 2001, underlines the researcher. “The last case listed in France and concerning non-flying animals dates back to 1998”.