IGN 16-8
Hungry dinner guests: Nutritional variation in flying foxes and Hendra virus dynamics in Australia

Friday, August 14, 2015
345, Baltimore Convention Center
Cecilia Sanchez, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
In Australia, Pteropus flying foxes (fruit bats) are the natural reservoir of Hendra virus, which causes fatal disease in equine and human spillover hosts. Most spillover events occur May-October, a pattern potentially driven by flying fox nutritional stress and a shift towards urban foraging. To advance understanding of viral transmission dynamics, objective metrics to quantify flying fox nutritional condition are needed, together with information on the links between nutrition, host susceptibility, and viral shedding. Building individual-level heterogeneity and seasonal shifts in nutritional condition into mathematical models of viral transmission can help predict outbreak timing and severity at a colony level.