What is it?

Rabies and Australian bat lyssavirus are viruses that spread through bites or scratches from infected animals. These viruses cause a disease called rabies. Rabies affects the central nervous system and is fatal. It causes paralysis, delirium, convulsions and death. 

The rabies virus does not occur in Australia but the Australian bat lyssavirus does. However, Australian bat lyssavirus is uncommon with only three cases recorded since 1996. 

Still, if you have a bite or scratch from any mammal overseas, or any bat in Australia, you will need immediate treatment. The treatment is a series of vaccinations. Your GP will talk to you about the necessary treatments and any risks.