Epidemiology of bat rabies in Germany
Rabies in European bats was first reported in Germany in 1954. In concordance with Denmark and the Netherlands, Germany has reported one of the highest numbers (n=187) of European bat lyssavirus (EBLV)-positive cases in bats in Europe so far (1954–2005). A ombined descriptive epidemiological and phylogenetic analysis on bat rabies and prevailingEBLVsis presented, comprising the past 50 years. So far, only the two lineages of EBLV-1 (genotype 5), a and b, have been detected. Although only 50% of the rabies-positive bats have been identified by species, the Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) is the bat species most frequently infected. Single rabies cases have also been detected in a further five indigenous bat species. There is proven evidence for a substantial bias in the frequency of bat rabies cases in the north of Germany, with an endemic cluster in the northwesternmost low-lying plain areas adjacent to the Netherlands and Denmark. Improvements to bat rabies surveillance and research are discussed.