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The genus Lyssavirus consists of more than 80 viruses including the rabies virus, which is the prototypical human Lyssavirus pathogen. Other viruses included in this group rarely cause human disease.
The virus is classified as Lyssavirus serotype 4. The virus has been reported in bats from Southern Africa and many European countries. The first human case was reported in 1971 from South Africa, who died of clinical rabies after being bitten by a bat.
The virus is classified as Lyssavirus serotype 3. The virus has been isolated from many domestic and wild animals (shrew, cat, and dog) in Africa. It was first reported from shrews in Africa in the year 1968. Later, the virus has been isolated from animals in many European countries. The first report of human infection was from two children with CNS infection.
The virus is classified as Lyssavirus serotype 2. The viruses have been reported from bats and cats in Nigeria and Central Africa. The virus was initially isolated in 1956 from the pooled brains of frugivorous bats from Lagos island, Nigeria. The virus causes a rabies-like illness following intracerebral inoculation in infected monkeys.
Other viruses, such as Rochambeau virus and Australian bat Lyssavirus have been reported to cause occasional rabies-like fatal disease in humans. Obodhiang and Kotonkan viruses have only been reported from mosquitoes in Sudan and Ibadan. No human infection by these viruses has been documented.
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