Rabies - Bulletin - Europe

Rabies Information System of the WHO

Unusual rabies case in a cat from Italy

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Recently, rabies has been laboratory confirmed in a cat from the Italian province of Arezzo, Tuscany.
On 27 of June 2020 the cat developed clinical signs suggestive of rabies and died four days later.
Because it attacked and bit three family members the cat was submitted for testing. Sequencing of the
isolated virus showed 98.52% homology with West Caucasian Bat Lyssavirus (WCBV). Although this
lyssavirus is known to be associated with Schreibers’ Bent-winged bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) as
reservoirs. This spillover case is the first detection of a bat lyssavirus in Italy at all. Spillover infections of
bat lyssaviruses into terrestrial animals and humans are very rare events and considered dead-end

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