23 Feb 2013

Child dies after contracting bat virus

7:17 am on 23 February 2013

An eight-year-old boy has died in Australia after contracting a virus carried by bats.

The boy fell ill with Australian bat lyssavirus about three weeks ago after being bitten or scratched by a bat in north Queensland in December.

Queensland Health said he died late on Friday afternoon in Brisbane's Mater Hospital, the ABC reports.

His family and close friends have been given post-exposure drugs as a precaution.

Australian bat lyssavirus was first discoveredi n 1996 and is closely related but not identical to the rabies virus.

There is no treatment for bat lyssavirus, which results in paralysis, delirium, convulsions and death.

The child is the third confirmed fatality related to the virus. A woman died after being bitten on the finger while trying to remove a flying fox from a child and an animal carer has also been killed.