Assessment of a Rabies Virus Rapid Diagnostic Test for the Detection of Australian Bat Lyssavirus
Certoma A., Lunt RA., Vosloo W., Smith I., Colling A., Williams DT., Tran T., Blacksell SD.
Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) is closely related to the classical rabies virus and has been associated with three human fatalities and two equine fatalities in Australia. ABLV infection in humans causes encephalomyelitis, resulting in fatal disease, but has no effective therapy. The virus is maintained in enzootic circulation within fruit bats (Pteropid spp.) and at least one insectivorous bat variety (Saccolaimus flaviventris). Most frequently, laboratory testing is conducted on pteropodid bat brains, either following a potential human exposure through bites, scratches and other direct contacts with bats, or as opportunistic assessment of sick or dead bats. The level of medical intervention and post-exposure prophylaxis is largely determined on laboratory testing for antigen/virus as the demonstrable infection status of the in-contact bat. This study evaluates the comparative diagnostic performance of a lateral flow test, Anigen Rabies Ag detection rapid test (RDT), in pteropodid variant of ABLV-infected bat brain tissues. The RDT demonstrated 100% agreement with the reference standard fluorescent antibody test on 43 clinical samples suggesting a potential application in rapid diagnosis of pteropodid variant of ABLV infection. A weighted Kappa value of 0.95 confirmed a high level of agreement between both tests.