Flying-fox roost disturbance and hendra virus spillover risk

Edson, Daniel, Field, Hume, McMichael, Lee, Jordan, David, Kung, Nina, Mayer, David and Smith, Craig (2015) Flying-fox roost disturbance and hendra virus spillover risk. PL o S One, 10 5: 1-16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0125881

Author Edson, Daniel
Field, Hume
McMichael, Lee
Jordan, David
Kung, Nina
Mayer, David
Smith, Craig
Title Flying-fox roost disturbance and hendra virus spillover risk
Journal name PL o S One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2015-05-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0125881
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 10
Issue 5
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Bats of the genus Pteropus (flying-foxes) are the natural host of Hendra virus (HeV) which periodically causes fatal disease in horses and humans in Australia. The increased urban presence of flying-foxes often provokes negative community sentiments because of reduced social amenity and concerns of HeV exposure risk, and has resulted in calls for the dispersal of urban flying-fox roosts. However, it has been hypothesised that disturbance of urban roosts may result in a stress-mediated increase in HeV infection in flying-foxes, and an increased spillover risk. We sought to examine the impact of roost modification and dispersal on HeV infection dynamics and cortisol concentration dynamics in flying-foxes. The data were analysed in generalised linear mixed models using restricted maximum likelihood (REML). The difference in mean HeV prevalence in samples collected before (4.9%), during (4.7%) and after (3.4%) roost disturbance was small and non-significant (P = 0.440). Similarly, the difference in mean urine specific gravity-corrected urinary cortisol concentrations was small and non-significant (before = 22.71 ng/mL, during = 27.17, after = 18.39) (P= 0.550). We did find an underlying association between cortisol concentration and season, and cortisol concentration and region, suggesting that other (plausibly biological or environmental) variables play a role in cortisol concentration dynamics. The effect of roost disturbance on cortisol concentration approached statistical significance for region, suggesting that the relationship is not fixed, and plausibly reflecting the nature and timing of disturbance. We also found a small positive statistical association between HeV excretion status and urinary cortisol concentration. Finally, we found that the level of flying-fox distress associated with roost disturbance reflected the nature and timing of the activity, highlighting the need for a ‘best practice’ approach to dispersal or roost modification activities. The findings usefully inform public discussion and policy development in relation to Hendra virus and flying-fox management.
Keyword Infection
Urinary cortisol
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 6 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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