Site Published:  16th April 2010
Last updated:   18th April 2010
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January - February - March 2011 News
Page added:   18th April 2010
Page updated:   16th July 2011
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Update - 25th January 2011
Recent wide spread flooding across Queensland and Northern NSW has caused devastation for tens of thousands of people.  The toll on our wildlife has also been significant. Good spring rains had already depleted the nectar in blossoms, the preferred food for flying foxes, driving them into orchards in search of food.  At least two colonies that I am aware of were already suffering from yet to be explained mass deaths, early in December, one on the gold coast and one locally.

The permanent camp site at Widgee Crossing fluctuates during the year, with numbers in Spring and early summer in the tens of thousands.  The camp runs along a creek bed on both sides of the road and bats can be seen as far as the eye can see.  The recent flooding in Gympie saw 6-8 meters of water flood this camp site and has displaced all but 1 or 2 thousands bats, most of which are juveniles that have been abandoned and are dropping dead through starvation.  

Widgee Crossing
Before & After
January 2011 Flooding
Stressed bats = immunosuppression which could makes them more vulnerable to viral infections such as lyssa virus and hendra virus.
This is not just bad news for the flying foxes, it means the bats will be searching out new camp sites, food and potentially excreting virus as epidemics pulse through the colonies.   Large influxes of bats are already being seen at the Yarra Bend Park (Yarra Bend Park's fruit bat invasion - 27 Jan 11 by Julia Irwin) and reports of increased numbers in Sydney Bats invade Sydney Garden, Friday January 28, 2011 are already being seen.  

Now more than ever, all horse owners and veterinarians need to be aware of the risks of the deadly Hendra virus.   It can strike anywhere, anytime!
Update - 18th February 2011
Girly survived a brush with Hendra Virus - Enjoying life in retirement
Update - 30th January 2011
American and Australian advances in the fight against Hendra virus
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), the world’s largest professional association of equine veterinarians with some 10,000 members worldwide, has recognised Brisbane equine veterinarian and AVA member, Peter Reid.

Dr Reid was acknowledged for his efforts towards gaining approval for the funding of horse vaccine trials at the Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL), at the AAEP 56th Annual Convention in Baltimore last year.  Read more here>

This article appears in the January/February 2011 issue of the Australian Veterinary Journal.
Note: Jennifer's experience with Hendra virus was only the 6th recorded case, the 7th was a few short months later in Northern NSW.  The 8th Case was detected on an adjoining property to Jennifer, just 12 months later.  In most cases only one horse has been affected and as recent tragic events have shown (Redlands 2008 and Cawarral 2009) where more than one horse was involved, and not detected in the first, the consequences were fatal for humans.
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