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Australian bat lyssavirus and other bat health risks

Bats play a vital role in maintaining the health of our ecosystems. They pollinate and disperse seeds from a wide variety of plants both native and introduced and in forest or plantation situations. More than 450 economically important plant species depend on bats for their survival and production. All Australian species of bats are protected.

While overseas bats are the natural hosts for a number of important infectious diseases including Rabies, Ebola virus Nipah Virus and SARS the Australian bats do not carry these viruses and instead have their own unique viruses. The best known are Hendra virus and Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) while a lesser known one is called Menangle virus.