Bat Health Focus Group

WHA supports a focus group with an interest in bat health issues in Australia.

Using a collaborative One Health approach, the Bat Health Focus Group considers bat health issues in relation to the broader context of biosecurity, public health, livestock health and environmental impacts in Australia. Members come from organisations including Australian and State Government departments of agriculture, public health and environment; CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory, universities, the Australasian Bat Society and the Australian Speleological Federation. Members include veterinarians, biologists, ecologists, virologists, epidemiologists and wildlife/bat carers. Membership of the group is by invitation.

The group has assisted the Australian Department of Agriculture and Animal Health Australia in updating the ABLV AUSVETPLAN disease strategy and provides the National Animal Health Information Program with collated information on ABLV testing in bats. The group produces a regular summary of ABLV testing of bats in Australia (below).

For more information please contact

Are you interested in bat health?

Wildlife Health Australia collates recent media articles and publications relating to bat health into a monthly
‘Bat News’ email. If you would like to receive it, please contact WHA.

If you are interested in wildlife health more broadly, WHA produces a weekly email Digest of wildlife health and disease information including media stories, research news, upcoming events and recent publications from both Australia and overseas. To receive the weekly Digest, go to 'Become a member'.

White-Nose Syndrome

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease that has caused significant declines in insectivorous bat populations in North America. WNS has not been identified in Australia. For more information on this disease, see the WHA White-nose Syndrome Fact Sheet (Exotic).

How to report a suspect case of white-nose syndrome - This document provides information on white-nose syndrome for people in Australia who come into contact with microbats e.g. bat/wildlife carers, ecologists and other researchers and students, cavers, cave managers, park rangers and members of the public.

National guidelines for sample submission - White-nose syndrome - Exclusion testing - This document provides a framework to assist veterinarians with the appropriate collection and submission of samples to facilitate the exclusion of white-nose syndrome in Australia.

White-nose syndrome - Protecting Australian bats - This is an update on current activities to reduce the risk of introduction of WNS into Australia, and to better prepare Australia in case the disease were to be found here.

Qualitative risk assessment: White-nose syndrome in bats in Australia - Wildlife Health Australia, with funding from the Department of Agriculture, commissioned a disease risk assessment for the potential introduction of white-nose syndrome to Australia. This report was prepared by a team of experts led through the University of Melbourne in collaboration with the South Australian Museum, DELWP (Arthur Rylah Institute) Victoria and the University of Adelaide. Publication: Holz P et al (2019). Does the fungus causing white-nose syndrome pose a significant risk to Australian bats? Wildlife Research (Just Accepted)

White-nose Syndrome Response Guidelines - These guidelines have been developed by Wildlife Health Australia in consultation with stakeholder groups, to assist response agencies in the event of an incursion of the exotic disease white-nose syndrome into bats in Australia.

White-nose Syndrome Response Guidelines Workshop - Summary - Wildlife Health Australia and Animal Health Australia ran a workshop in October 2016 to discuss response options for a possible incursion of the exotic disease white-nose syndrome into bats in Australia.

Hendra Virus testing of flying foxes

The Bat Health Focus Group has prepared an information document with advice regarding testing of individual flying foxes for Hendra virus. It covers current knowledge, available tests and their limitations, and challenges with interpretation of results. 

Hendra Virus Testing in Individual Flying Foxes at Necropsy - Information Document

For more information on HeV, see the WHA Hendra virus and Australian Wildlife Fact Sheet