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Australian Bat Lyssavirus: Analysis of National Bat Surveillance Data from 2010 to 2016

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Iglesias, R., Cox-Witton, K., Field, H., Skerratt, L. F. and Barrett, J. L. (2021) Australian Bat Lyssavirus: Analysis of National Bat Surveillance Data from 2010 to 2016. Viruses, 13 (2). p. 189. ISSN 1999-4915


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020189

Publisher URL: https://www.mdpi.com/1999-4915/13/2/189


Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) was first described in 1996 and has been regularly detected in Australian bats since that time. While the virus does not cause population level impacts in bats and has minimal impacts on domestic animals, it does pose a public health risk. For this reason, bats are monitored for ABLV and a national dataset is collated and maintained by Wildlife Health Australia. The 2010–2016 dataset was analysed using logistic regression and time-series analysis to identify predictors of infection status in bats and the factors associated with human exposure to bats. In common with previous passive surveillance studies, we found that little red flying-foxes (Pteropus scapulatus) are more likely than other species to be infected with ABLV. In the four Australian mainland species of flying-fox, there are seasonal differences in infection risk that may be associated with reproductive cycles, with summer and autumn the seasons of greatest risk. The risk of human contact was also seasonal, with lower risk in winter. In line with other studies, we found that the circumstances in which the bat is encountered, such as exhibiting abnormal behaviour or being grounded, are risk factors for ABLV infection and human contact and should continue be key components of public health messaging. We also found evidence of biased recording of some types of information, which made interpretation of some findings more challenging. Strengthening of “One Health” linkages between public health and animal health services at the operational level could help overcome these biases in future, and greater harmonisation nationally would increase the value of the dataset.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Additional Information:Open access
Keywords:Australian bat lyssavirus; Australia; public health; Pteropus; flying-fox; lyssavirus; zoonosis; One Health
Subjects:Science > Zoology > Chordates. Vertebrates > Mammals
Animal culture > Small animal culture
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary virology
Live Archive:03 Mar 2021 05:09
Last Modified:27 Oct 2021 04:32

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