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Temporal Variation in Physiological Biomarkers in Black Flying-Foxes (Pteropus alecto), Australia

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McMichael, L., Edson, D., Mayer, D., McLaughlin, A., Goldspink, L., Vidgen, M. E., Kopp, S., Meers, J. and Field, H. (2016) Temporal Variation in Physiological Biomarkers in Black Flying-Foxes (Pteropus alecto), Australia. EcoHealth . ISSN 1612-9202

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10393-016-1113-0


Bats of the genus Pteropus (Pteropodidae) are recognised as the natural host of multiple emerging pathogenic viruses of animal and human health significance, including henipaviruses, lyssaviruses and ebolaviruses. Some studies have suggested that physiological and ecological factors may be associated with Hendra virus infection in flying-foxes in Australia; however, it is essential to understand the normal range and seasonal variability of physiological biomarkers before seeking physiological associations with infection status. We aimed to measure a suite of physiological biomarkers in P. alecto over time to identify any seasonal fluctuations and to examine possible associations with life-cycle and environmental stressors. We sampled 839 adult P. alecto in the Australian state of Queensland over a 12-month period. The adjusted population means of every assessed hematologic and biochemical parameter were within the reported reference range on every sampling occasion. However, within this range, we identified significant temporal variation in these parameters, in urinary parameters and body condition, which primarily reflected the normal annual life cycle. We found no evident effect of remarkable physiological demands or nutritional stress, and no indication of clinical disease driving any parameter values outside the normal species reference range. Our findings identify underlying temporal physiological changes at the population level that inform epidemiological studies and assessment of putative physiological risk factors driving Hendra virus infection in P. alecto. More broadly, the findings add to the knowledge of Pteropus populations in terms of their relative resistance and resilience to emerging infectious disease.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Biology > Genetics
Science > Zoology
Animal culture > Small animal culture
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary virology
Veterinary medicine > Communicable diseases of animals (General)
Live Archive:31 Mar 2016 05:58
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:50

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