Rabies is an infection that affects the brain and central nervous system. It is caused by a type of virus called a lyssavirus that people usually get from a bite or scratch from an infected animal.
Rabies is almost always fatal, but treatment can prevent the infection from developing.
There is no rabies in Australia. However, Australian bats carry other viruses in the lyssavirus family including Australian bat lyssavirus, which is closely related to rabies.
Prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
The best protection against being infected with rabies is to stay away from animals when you are overseas in an area where rabies is known to occur. Avoid contact with stray animals including cats and dogs. Avoid handling any bat in Australia.
For information about prevention, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, see healthdirect's rabies page.
Surveillance and reporting
Rabies is a nationally notifiable disease.
We monitor cases through the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).
For more on rabies in Australia, you can search Communicable Diseases Intelligence.