Poster Presentation 64th International Conference of the Wildlife Disease Association 2015

Novel paramyxoviruses in Australian flying-fox populations support host-virus coevolution. (#158)

Miranda E Vidgen 1 2 , Carol E de Jong 1 , Karrie Rose 3 4 , Jane Hall 3 , Hume E Field 1 5 , Craig S Smith 1
  1. Biosecurity Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Coopers Plains, Queensland, Australia
  2. School of Health and Sport Science, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Queensland, Australia
  3. Australian Registry of Wildlife Health, Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Mosman, New South Wales, Australia
  4. School of Public Health, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  5. EcoHealth Alliance, New York, USA

Understanding the diversity of henipaviruses and related viruses is important in determining the viral ecology within flying-fox populations and assessing the potential threat posed by these agents. This study sought to identify the abundance and diversity of previously unknown paramyxoviruses in Australian flying-fox species (Pteropus alecto, P. scapulatus, P. poliocephalus and P. conspicillatus) and in the Christmas Island species P. melanotus natalis. Using a degenerative RT-PCR specific for the L gene of known species of Henipavirus and two closely related paramyxovirus genera Respirovirus and Morbillivirus, we identified an abundance and diversity of previously unknown paramyxoviruses (UPV), with a representative 31 UPVs clustering in eight distinct groups (100 UPVs/495 samples). No new henipaviruses were identified. The findings are consistent with a hypothesis of co-evolution of paramyxoviruses and their flying-fox hosts. Quantification of the degree of co-speciation between host and virus would strengthen this hypothesis.