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Neuro-angiostrongylosis in wild Black and Grey-headed flying foxes (Pteropus spp)

Barrett, J.L. and Carlisle, M.S. and Prociv, P. (2002) Neuro-angiostrongylosis in wild Black and Grey-headed flying foxes (Pteropus spp). Australian Veterinary Journal, 80 (9). pp. 554-558.

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Article Link(s): http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-0813.2002.tb11039...

Publisher URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/home

Abstract

Objective: To identify nematodes seen in histological sections of brains of flying foxes (fruit bats) and describe the associated clinical disease and pathology.

Proceedures: Gross and histological examination of brains from 86 free-living flying foxes with neurological disease was done as part of an ongoing surveillance program for Australian bat lyssavirus. Worms were recovered, or if seen in histological sections, extracted by maceration of half the brain and identified by microscopic examination. Histological archives were also reviewed.

Results: There was histological evidence of angiostrongylosis in 16 of 86 recently submitted flying foxes with neurological disease and in one archival case from 1992. In 10 flying foxes, worms were definitively identified as Angiostrongylus cantonensis fifth-stage larvae. A worm fragment and third stage larvae were identified as Angiostrongylus sp, presumably A cantonensis, in a further three cases. The clinical picture was dominated by paresis, particularly of the hindlimbs, and depression, with flying foxes surviving up to 22 days in the care of wildlife volunteers. Brains containing fifthstage larvae showed a moderate to severe eosinophilic and granulomatous meningoencephalitis (n = 14), whereas there was virtually no inflammation of the brains of bats which died when infected with only smaller, third-stage larvae (n = 3). There was no histological evidence of pulmonary involvement.

Conclusion: This is the first report of the recovery and identification of A cantonensis from free-living Australian wildlife. While angiostrongylosis is a common cause of paresis in flying foxes, the initial clinical course cannot be differentiated from Australian bat lyssavirus infection, and wildlife carers should be urged not to attempt to rehabilitate flying foxes with neurological disease.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from the © Australian Veterinary Journal. Access to published version may be available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:Flying foxes; lyssavirus testing; neurological disease; A. cantonensis; wildlife carers.
Subjects:Science > Microbiology > Microorganisms in the animal body
Veterinary medicine > Diseases of special classes of animals
Deposited On:15 May 2006
Last Modified:07 Jun 2011 05:39

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