Rabies bat bite


The Mirror, 20/11/2002, p21

A BAT expert was fighting for life last night with suspected rabies
after being bitten by one of the species.
David McRae, a natural history artist and licensed handler of the
protected mammals, was in a hospital isolation ward. His symptoms were
“advanced”, involving problems with the brain and nervous system.
The strain of rabies caught from the bat is a neurological illness and
different to the disease carried by dogs and foxes. Last month, after
an incident in Lancashire, environment officials warned of potential
rabies danger from bats in the UK. But yesterday’s case is only the
third here. Public health experts said there was minimum risk.
It is thought Mr McRae, of Guthrie, near Forfar, was bitten by the
infected bat several months ago.
He only recently began to show symptoms of the rabies strain, European
Bat Lyssavirus.
He had not been vaccinated. Mr McRae, 55, went into hospital “less than
a month ago” with mild neurological symptoms and he deteriorated.
Dr Dilip Nathwani said the patient at Ninewells hospital, Dundee, was
“extremely ill”.
Fever and paralysis are symptoms. Test results are expected today.
Mr McRae worked for Scottish Natural Heritage as a volunteer, caring
for bats.
Public health chief Drew Walker said a simple way to stop infection was
“avoiding handling bats under any circumstances”.
Transmission between humans is unheard of. Only two of the 16 bat types
found in the UK have a rabies risk.
A conservationist in Lancashire was bitten by a rabid bat in September,
but she did not become ill.
* ROBERT Prins, 42, got £2,800 in fines and costs at Ipswich yesterday
for smuggling a kitten into Britain from Lithuania for his wife, in
breach of rabies laws.


Categories: Daily Mirror articles

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