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

What are fruit bats doing in my back yard? The disease and ecological implications of Grey-headed flying foxes in South Australia. (#129)

Wayne Boardman 1 , Corey Bradshaw 1 , Tom Prowse 1 , G Crameri 2 , David Westcott 3 , Charles Caraguel 1
  1. University of Adelaide, Roseworthy, SA, Australia
  2. CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory, East Geelong, VIC, Australia
  3. Land & Water, CSIRO, Atherton, QLD, Australia

Grey-headed flying foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus) arrived in Adelaide in 2010, outside their normal distribution range. Since then, despite pup mortality each summer due to heat stress, the population has continued to increase to ~ 3,000 bats. Within this population, Hendra virus (HeV) and Australian bat lyssa virus (ABLV), known to cause disease in horses and people, have been isolated, and a unique, as yet untyped Hendra-like virus of unknown pathogenicity has been discovered.

Why have the bats made Adelaide home? What do they feed on and where do they go? Can they survive in Adelaide and are they shedding HeV and other viruses which may pose a risk to horses and people in South Australia?

The presentation will provide an overview of Grey-headed flying fox ecology, preliminary epidemiological modelling data (using Outbreak software) and initial movement and foraging data using solar powered GPS collars.