Page last updated at 14:19 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 15:19 UK

Injured bat found to have rabies

Anyone bitten by a bat is advised to seek medical treatment

An injured bat found in a park has tested positive for a strain of rabies which can infect people.

The animal, found last August in Bushy Park, south-west London, carried European bat lyssavirus, closely linked to classic rabies virus, tests showed.

The animal was destroyed earlier this month after behaving abnormally.

The virus can be transmitted through a bite by an infected bat, but the danger to humans is regarded as small as treatment is highly effective.

The Health Protection Agency advised anyone bitten by a bat to seek immediate medical advice.

This strain of rabies has been found in six bats in the UK since 1996, in Sussex, Lancashire, Surrey, Oxfordshire and Shropshire, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

Bats are a protected species and anyone who finds a sick or injured bat has been advised not handle it, but to contact the Bat Conservation Trust.

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