Microclimates might limit indirect spillover of the bat borne zoonotic Hendra virus

Martin Munoz De Cote, Gerardo, Webb, Rebecca J., Chen, Carla, Plowright, Raina K., and Skerratt, Lee F. (2017) Microclimates might limit indirect spillover of the bat borne zoonotic Hendra virus. Microbial Ecology, 74 (1). pp. 106-115.

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Abstract

Infectious diseases are transmitted when susceptible hosts are exposed to pathogen particles that can replicate within them. Among factors that limit transmission, the environment is particularly important for indirectly transmitted parasites. To try and assess a pathogens' ability to be transmitted through the environment and mitigate risk, we need to quantify its decay where transmission occurs in space such as the microclimate harbouring the pathogen. Hendra virus, a Henipavirus from Australian Pteropid bats, spills-over to horses and humans, causing high mortality. While a vaccine is available, its limited uptake has reduced opportunities for adequate risk management to humans, hence the need to develop synergistic preventive measures, like disrupting its transmission pathways. Transmission likely occurs shortly after virus excretion in paddocks; however, no survival estimates to date have used real environmental conditions. Here, we recorded microclimate conditions and fitted models that predict temperatures and potential evaporation, which we used to simulate virus survival with a temperature-survival model and modification based on evaporation. Predicted survival was lower than previously estimated and likely to be even lower according to potential evaporation. Our results indicate that transmission should occur shortly after the virus is excreted, in a relatively direct way. When potential evaporation is low, and survival is more similar to temperature dependent estimates, transmission might be indirect because the virus can wait several hours until contact is made. We recommend restricting horses' access to trees during night time and reducing grass under trees to reduce virus survival.

Item ID: 50343
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-184X
Keywords: flying foxes, spillover, survival, environmental transmission, horses, microclimates
Funders: National Hendra Virus Research Program
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:03
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110804 Medical Virology @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920120 Zoonoses @ 50%
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