Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) causes human illness that is indistinguishable from classical rabies. All Australian bats have the potential to carry and transmit ABLV, and potentially risky human exposures to bats are common. ABLV infection has resulted in three human deaths in Australia since 1996.
The aim of this article is to equip general practitioners (GPs) to assist in the prevention and management of potential ABLV exposures in Australia, including complex clinical scenarios that are not fully addressed in current national guidelines.
Potential ABLV exposures are frequently encountered in general practice. GPs play a critical role in risk mitigation for groups such as veterinarians and wildlife carers, and in triggering urgent multidisciplinary responses to potential exposures. Timely notification of the public health unit following a potential exposure is crucial to ensure appropriate assessment and access to correct treatment. Complex exposure scenarios require careful consideration.