Published Date: 2012-08-03 20:45:49
Subject: PRO/AH/EDR> Cedar Grove virus - Australia: bats
Archive Number: 20120803.1227893
CEDAR GROVE VIRUS - AUSTRALIA: BATS
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Fri 3 Aug 2012
Source: Herald Sun [edited]
A New virus closely related to the deadly Hendra and Nipah viruses has been found in black flying foxes [_Pteropus alecto_] at Cedar Grove near Beaudesert.
The find by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Biosecurity Queensland has excited scientists because it could help them unravel secrets of Hendra and Nipah viruses. The viruses kill more than 70 per cent of humans and animals they infect, yet little is known about how they interact with their hosts. There are no concerns about the new virus infecting humans, although it can't be ruled out.
Gary Crameri, a CSIRO virologist at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, said bats carried more viruses than other species, perhaps because they were such a broad group of ancient mammals, ranging from micro-bats weighing a few grams to large flying foxes that lived in many different environments.
Scientists were intrigued why they could carry deadly viruses but not become diseased themselves. If this could be worked out, bats could provide humankind with medicines to fight viruses and help weakened immune systems.
"They're an incredibly important group of animals and the risk of the virus spilling over to humans is incredibly low," Mr Crameri said. "Even if it did, it might go unnoticed -- perhaps like a gentle cold. All experiments indicate Cedar's nowhere near as deadly as Hendra."
Named for where it was found, the Cedar virus had not caused illness in tests on mice, guinea pigs and ferrets which were susceptible to Hendra and Nipah. Cedar had caused mild infections in laboratory animals but no signs of disease.
A survey of flying foxes showed 25 per cent had antibodies to Cedar, a similar number to that seen with Hendra. Researchers were investigating how the virus might impact on domestic animals, including livestock.
Its discovery would have no impact on the development of a Hendra horse vaccine.
[Byline: Brian Williams]
ProMED-mail from HealthMap Alerts
[It will be interesting to see the genetic and antigenic relationships of Cedar Grove virus to the related Hendra and Nipah viruses, as well as the host-virus (bat) relationship as research on this new virus goes forward. It will also be of interest to see if there are antibodies in wild and domestic vertebrates that reside in the area where the black flying foxes occur, as an indication of natural exposure with or without resulting disease.
The black flying fox (_Pteropus alecto_) is distributed across northern Australia. An image can be accessed at
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive map showing the location of Beaudesert in Queensland state can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/2*0w. - Mod.TY]