Boy critically ill with bat virus

Last updated 15:43 15/02/2013

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An eight-year-old boy is in a coma after catching the bat Lyssavirus - only the third ever confirmed case in Australia.

The boy was bitten or scratched by a bat in north Queensland about two and half months ago but his parents did not know about it at the time, according to Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young.

The boy began having fits about three weeks ago and was diagnosed with the virus, which is similar to rabies.

The boy is in a coma in a Brisbane hospital, with Dr Young calling the case "very sad".

It is only the third confirmed case of bat Lyssavirus in Australia so far, with the other two diagnosed in Queensland in the 1990s.

In the earlier cases, both patients died.

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