It is important to consider bats and diseases from a UK perspective. As already explained, the only known zoonotic disease associated with bats in Britain is rabies caused by infection with a European Bat Lyssavirus (EBLV) (the classical rabies virus has never been found in a bat in Europe). Rabies caused by infection with an EBLV has only been associated with one human case in the UK. The risk is small and as EBLVs are transmitted via a bite or scratch there is no risk to the public if they do not handle bats. EBLVs have only been found in a small number of bats despite more than 15,000 having been submitted for testing to a surveillance scheme run by the Animal & Plant Health Agency.

There are no other known zoonotic diseases associated with bat populations in the UK.

These pages discuss bats and disease in a human health context. There are however some diseases that are affecting the bats themselves with dramatic effects. For more information see our white-nose syndrome pages.

Next: Bats and rabies