Login | Request Account (DAF staff only)

Reproduction and nutritional stress are risk factors for Hendra virus infection in little red flying foxes (Pteropus scapulatus)

View Altmetrics

Plowright, R. K., Field, H. E., Smith, C. S., Divljan, A., Palmer, C., Tabor, G., Daszak, P. and Foley, J. E. (2008) Reproduction and nutritional stress are risk factors for Hendra virus infection in little red flying foxes (Pteropus scapulatus). Proceedings. Biological sciences, 275 (1636). pp. 861-869. ISSN 0962-84521471-2954


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2007.1260


Hendra virus (HeV) is a lethal paramyxovirus which emerged in humans in 1994. Poor understanding of HeV dynamics in Pteropus spp. (flying fox or fruit bat) reservoir hosts has limited our ability to determine factors driving its emergence. We initiated a longitudinal field study of HeV in little red flying foxes (LRFF; Pteropus scapulatus) and examined individual and population risk factors for infection, to determine probable modes of intraspecific transmission. We also investigated whether seasonal changes in host behaviour, physiology and demography affect host-pathogen dynamics. Data showed that pregnant and lactating females had significantly higher risk of infection, which may explain previously observed temporal associations between HeV outbreaks and flying fox birthing periods. Age-specific seroprevalence curves generated from field data imply that HeV is transmitted horizontally via faeces, urine or saliva. Rapidly declining seroprevalence between two field seasons suggests that immunity wanes faster in LRFF than in other flying fox species, and highlights the potentially critical role of this species in interspecific viral persistence. The highest seroprevalence was observed when animals showed evidence of nutritional stress, suggesting that environmental processes that alter flying fox food sources, such as habitat loss and climate change, may increase HeV infection and transmission. These insights into the ecology of HeV in flying fox populations suggest causal links between anthropogenic environmental change and HeV emergence.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Keywords:Animals Antibodies, Viral/blood Chiroptera/physiology/*virology Communicable Diseases, Emerging/epidemiology/virology Female Hendra Virus/immunology/*pathogenicity Henipavirus Infections/epidemiology/*veterinary/virology Host-Pathogen Interactions Humans Lactation Pregnancy Pregnancy, Animal Reproduction/*physiology Risk Factors *Starvation Zoonoses/epidemiology/virology
Subjects:Animal culture > Small animal culture
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary virology
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary epidemiology. Epizootiology
Veterinary medicine > Communicable diseases of animals (General)
Veterinary medicine > Diseases of special classes of animals > Horses
Live Archive:01 Feb 2022 02:39
Last Modified:01 Feb 2022 02:40

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics