Physiological stress and Hendra virus in flying-foxes (Pteropus spp.), Australia

McMichael, Lee, Edson, Daniel, Smith, Craig, Mayer, David, Smith, Ian, Kopp, Steven, Meers, Joanne and Field, Hume (2017) Physiological stress and Hendra virus in flying-foxes (Pteropus spp.), Australia. PLoS One, 12 8: . doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0182171

Author McMichael, Lee
Edson, Daniel
Smith, Craig
Mayer, David
Smith, Ian
Kopp, Steven
Meers, Joanne
Field, Hume
Title Physiological stress and Hendra virus in flying-foxes (Pteropus spp.), Australia
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2017-08-02
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0182171
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 12
Issue 8
Total pages 16
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Language eng
Subject 1300 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
1100 Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Abstract Pteropid bats (flying-foxes) are the natural reservoir of Hendra virus, an emergent paramyxovirus responsible for fatal infection in horses and humans in Australia. Pteropus alecto (the Black flying-fox) and the paraphyletic P. conspicillatus (the Spectacled flying-fox) appear to be the primary reservoir hosts. Previous studies have suggested that physiological and ecological factors may underpin infection dynamics in flying-foxes, and subsequent spillover to horses and in turn humans. We sought to examine temporal trends in urinary cortisol concentration in wild Australian flying-fox populations, to elucidate the putative relationship between Hendra virus infection and physiological stress. Pooled and individual urine samples were non-invasively collected from under roosting flying-foxes at two latitudi-nally disparate regions in the eastern Australian state of Queensland. Hendra virus detection, and (in individual urine samples) sex and species determination were PCR-based. Urinary cortisol measurement used a validated enzyme immunoassay. We found no direct correlation between increased urinary cortisol and Hendra virus excretion, but our findings do suggest a biologically plausible association between low winter temperatures and elevated cortisol levels in P. alecto in the lower latitude Southeast Queensland roosts. We hypothesize an indirect association between low winter temperatures and increased Hendra virus infection and excretion, mediated by the physiological cost of thermoregulation. Our findings and our approach are directly relevant to elaboration of the disease ecology of Nipah virus and other emerging henipaviruses in bats. More broadly, they inform investigation of emerging disease infection dynamics across the wildlife/livestock/human interface.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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School of Veterinary Science Publications
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