Child critical in Brisbane hospital with bat virus

Child critical in Brisbane hospital with bat virus

Child critical in Brisbane hospital with bat virus

Updated 15 February 2013, 12:25 AEST

An eight-year-old boy is critically ill in a Brisbane hospital with the Australian bat lyssavirus.

Queensland Health's chief health officer Jeannette Young has held a media briefing about the virus and boy's condition.

The child was bitten or scratched by a bat two months ago prior to becoming ill in north Queensland, then three weeks ago the child became ill.

She says the child is critically unwell but at this time stable.

Australian bat lyssavirus was first discovered in 1996 and since then two people have died from after being bitten by bats or flying foxes.

It is closely related but not identical to rabies virus.

One was an animal carer and the other a woman who was bitten on the finger while trying to remove a flying fox from a child.

Bat lyssavirus results in paralysis, delirium, convulsions and death.

There is no treatment and Queensland Health urges people to avoid handling any bats or flying foxes.