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What is rabies?

Page last updated 09 April 2020

Rabies is an infection caused by a virus of the Lyssavirus family.

It infects the central nervous system and is almost always fatal. The early infection starts with flu-like symptoms, and rapidly progress to altered behaviours, coma, and death. Rabies is not found in Australia, however, it is still present in many areas of the world. In Australia, there have been a few reported cases of a rabies-like virus contracted from bats.


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Sources & Citations


1.    NSW Government, Department of Health, Rabies and Australian bat lyssavirus infection fact sheet. Available at: (accessed 17 March 2020).
3.    Australian Government, Department of Health. The Australian Immunisation Handbook. Rabies and other lyssaviruses. Available at: (accessed 10 March 2020).

SPANZ.RABIE.18.04.0156(1)a - Date of preparation March 2020