Natural and experimental infection of sheep with European bat lyssavirus type-1 of Danish bat origin

Kirsten Tjørnehøj, A.R. Fooks, J.S. Agerholm, L. Rønsholt

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    In 1998 and 2002, European bat lyssavirus type-1 (EBLV-1) was demonstrated in brain tissue of five Danish sheep suffering from micrological disorders. Four of the five sheep also had encephalic listeriosis. The animals originated from four flocks on pastures within a limited area of western Jutland. In a serological investigation in two of the herds, from which three of the diseased animals originated, EBLV-1 neutralizing antibodies were detected in only one of 69 sheep. Ill follow-up surveys, 2110 sheep sera collected at Danish slaughterhouses during 2000 were all negative for EBLV-1-antibodies, and EBLV-1 was not demonstrated in 87 ruminants displaying neurological symptoms. To investigate the pathogenic effects of EBLV-1, four sheep were inoculated intralabially with either brain material from one of the naturally infected sheep or virus isolated from the same sheep. These animals developed EBLV-1 neutralizing antibodies at 5-9 weeks post-inoculation but did not exhibit neurological signs during a 33-week observation period. It was speculated that the immune response prevented viral dissemination to the brain, resulting in an abortive peripheral infection. It was concluded that EBLV-1 can infect sheep under natural conditions as an incidental event.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Comparative Pathology
    Issue number2-3
    Pages (from-to)190-201
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


    • Listeria monocytogenes
    • EBLV-1
    • viral infection
    • sheep
    • bat
    • rabies
    • Lyssavirus


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