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Microbiology Australia Microbiology Australia
Issue 1

Bat-associated Diseases

Vertical Transmission

As this is my first communication for 2017, I will begin by wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Bat-associated diseases

Emerging infectious diseases pose a significant threat to human and animal health. Increasingly, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases are of zoonotic origin and are derived from wildlife. Bats have been identified as an important reservoir of zoonotic viruses belonging to a range of different virus families including SARSCoronavirus, Rabies virus, Hendra virus, Nipah virus, Marburg virus and Ebola virus.

Henipaviruses: bat-borne paramyxoviruses

Found on every continent except Antarctica, bats are one of the most abundant, diverse and geographically widespread vertebrates globally, making up approximately 20% of all known extant mammal species1,2. Noted for being the only mammal with the ability of powered flight, bats constitute the order Chiroptera (from the Ancient Greek meaning ‘hand wing’), which is further divided into two suborders: Megachiroptera known as megabats or flying foxes, and Microchiroptera comprising of echolocating micr...

Persistent or long-term coronavirus infection in Australian bats

When the World Health Organization declared the end of the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on the 5 July 2003, more than 8000 cases with over 800 fatalities had been reported in 32 countries worldwide and financial costs to the global economy were close to $US40 billion1,2. Coronaviruses were identified as being responsible for the outbreaks of both SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS, the latter in 2013). Subsequently, bats (order Chiroptera) were identified as the natura...

Filoviruses and bats

While Reston and Lloviu viruses have never been associated with human disease, the other filoviruses cause outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever characterised by person-to-person transmission and high case fatality ratios. Cumulative evidence suggests that bats are the most likely reservoir hosts of the filoviruses. Ecological investigations following Marburg virus disease outbreaks associated with entry into caves inhabited by Rousettus aegyptiacus bats led to the identification of this bat species as the natural reservoir host of the marburgv...

The impact of novel lyssavirus discovery

The global discovery of novel lyssaviruses is of continued scientific interest through its importance to both public and animal health. Lyssaviruses cause an invariably fatal encephalitis that is more commonly known as rabies. The term rabies has a long history in human society, as rabies virus (RABV) is the only pathogen that is associated with 100% fatality once the onset of clinical disease has started. Although predominantly associated across the globe with domestic and feral dog populations, the association of bats is clear. Whilst evoluti...

Menangle virus: one of the first of the novel viruses from fruit bats

‘Brainless pig disease swoops on Sydney.' This was a media headline that threatened to emerge during the early stages of a disease outbreak in pigs in NSW. However, identification of the viral cause and epidemiological studies that supported a sound management program minimised the impact of this outbreak on animal and human health.

Virus discovery in bats

Comprising approximately 20% of known mammalian species, bats are abundant throughout the world1. In recent years, bats have been shown to be the reservoir host for many highly pathogenic viruses, leading to increased attempts to identify other zoonotic bat-borne viruses. These efforts have led to the discovery of over 200 viruses in bats and many more viral nucleic acid sequences from 27 different viral families2,3 (Table 1). Over half of the world’s recently emerged infectious diseases origin...

Bats, bacteria and their role in health and disease

Bats are ancient and among the most diverse mammals in terms of species richness, diet and habitat preferences, characteristics that may contribute to a high diversity of infectious agents. During the past two decades, the interest in bats and their microorganisms largely increased because of their role as reservoir hosts or carriers of important pathogens. Rapid advances in microbial detection and characterisation by high-throughput sequencing technologies have led to large genetic data sets but also improved our possibilities and speed of ide...

The interplay between viruses and the immune system of bats

Bats are an abundant and diverse group of mammals with an array of unique characteristics, including their well-known roles as natural reservoirs for a variety of viruses. These include the deadly zoonotic paramyxoviruses; Hendra (HeV) and Nipah (NiV)1,2, lyssaviruses3, coronaviruses such as severe acute respiratory coronavirus (SARS-CoV)4 and filoviruses such as Marburg5. Although these viruses are highly pathogenic in other species, including humans, bats rarely show clinical s...

Bat and virus ecology in a dynamic world

The emergence of infectious diseases caused by bat-associated viruses has had a devastating and wide-reaching effect on human populations. These viruses include lyssaviruses such as rabies virus, the filoviruses, Ebola (EBOV) and Marburg virus, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, and the paramyxoviruses, Hendra virus (HeV) and Nipah virus (NiV)1. As a result bats have been the focus of substantial research (Fig. 1) and certain cellular and physiological traits of bats are hypothesised to lead to ‘special ...

Bi-State Conference 2016: event report

Culture Media Special Interest Group (SIG)

FT-035 Food Microbiology, Standards Australia Committee

Mycobacterium Special Interest Group (MSIG)

Food Microbiology Special Interest Group (SIG)

Vale Andrew Butcher

It is with great sadness that I convey to you the passing of Dr Andrew Butcher. Andrew passed away peacefully on December 8 after suffering from the debilitating illness, MND. Despite the decline in his health over the last few years and dealing with the passing of Wendy, his wife, last year, Andrew remained very positive and continued to do as much as he could to catch up and celebrate life with friends, family and colleagues at every opportunity. His outlook on life was incredible right to the end.

Alison Vickery and the typing of staphylococci in Australia

Alison Vickery, who died in December 2016, played an important role in the bacteriophage typing of Staphylococcus aureus in this country. The technique was introduced by Phyllis Rountree in the 1950s at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, where it was initially used to identify a particularly virulent strain of S. aureus (phage type 80/81) in the neonatal nursery.

Vale Jennifer Taplin BSc (21/4/1929–21/10/2016)

Jenny was born in Ballarat. Soon after, her parents moved to a 300 acre property at Millbrook. She was educated at home until, aged seven, she was able to cycle to the local, one-teacher, State School. In this environment she acquired a permanent love of nature. In 1941, as a shy only child, she was sent to board at the Hermitage CEGGS. Her father’s death just before her final examinations led to her failure. She repeated the matriculation with success, but had to attend a boy’s college to study science subjects.

Vale Sue Dixon

Friends and colleagues of Sue Dixon were saddened to hear of her passing in August 2016 after a short illness. Sue was born on 10 January 1928 in Malvern, Adelaide. After graduating from Unley High School she commenced her career in microbiology as a laboratory assistant cleaning test tubes at the then recently established Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science (IMVS). Sue was awarded a cadetship by the IMVS to study at Adelaide University where she graduated with a BSc in 1949. From 1949 to 1952 Sue worked as a bacteriologist at the IMVS ...

Vale Joan Faoagali

Joan Faoagali is remembered by many microbiologists as a Director of Microbiology at Royal Brisbane Hospital from 1985 to 2006 and then Princess Alexandra Hospital from 2006. Born in New Zealand in 1940 as Joan Wilson, Joan married her first husband, Malaki Faoagali in 1964. After graduating with her medical degree from Otago University and then undertaking her junior training in Invercargill, in 1968 her young family travelled to Samoa by ‘banana boat’. Joan soon realised that an unmet need in Samoa was pathology so she returned ...

ASM Science Meets Business report

ASM @ Science Alive! 2016

Volume 38 Number 1

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