SPREADING SEEDS, NOT DISEASE
Like all wild animals, flying-foxes may carry diseases, but the risk of spreading those diseases to humans is extremely low. In fact, they pose no major health risks unless you are scratched or bitten by one. There are a number of diseases that may be carried and transmitted by flying-foxes that you should be aware of, and manage interactions to ensure you do not get infected.
Even then, the Australian Bat Lyssavirus is only present in about 1% of the entire population, and it is not spread through droppings or urine. However, although Australian Bat Lyssavirus is extremely rare (there have only ever been three reported cases in Australia) it is a deadly disease, so never touch a flying-fox unless you are trained and vaccinated against Australian Bat Lyssavirus. But again, provided basic hygiene measures are taken, and you never touch a flying-fox, there is no reason for the public to be concerned.
AUSTRALIAN BAT LYSSAVIRUS
The Australian Bat Lyssavirus is only present in about 1% of the entire population, and it is not spread through droppings or urine, only through bites and scratches. However, although Australian Bat Lyssavirus is extremely rare (there have only ever been three reported cases in Australia) it is a deadly disease, so never touch a flying-fox (or any other bat) unless you are trained and vaccinated against Australian Bat Lyssavirus. But again, provided basic hygiene measures are taken, and you never touch a Flying-fox, there is no reason for the public to be concerned.
Hendra virus cases in humans are also very rare, and there is no evidence humans can contract the virus directly from flying-foxes. Hendra virus is, however, a very serious and life-threatening disease, and it can be transferred from horses to humans through exposure to the body fluids of infected animals. Hendra virus can cause death in horses. So, despite its rarity, it is still extremely important to take all necessary steps to reduce the possibility of outbreaks occurring. The most effective way to protect humans from Hendra virus is to vaccinate horses against the disease. The Hendra virus vaccine is available through veterinarians.
It is thought that horses may contract Hendra virus from eating food recently contaminated by flying-fox urine, saliva or other body fluids. Exposure to food infected by bats can be reduced by removing horses from paddocks where flying-foxes are roosting or feeding, removing food and water troughs for horses and other pets and livestock from underneath trees where flying-foxes are present. It is also important to maintain good hygiene practices around horses at all times, particularly animals that are sick.
FLYING-FOXES CARRY RABIES
Flying-foxes do not have rabies.
Flying-foxes are regarded as the natural reservoir of Australian Bat Lyssavirus which is similar, but not the same, as rabies.
Only a very small percentage of flying-foxes (less than 1%) are infected with Australian Bat Lyssavirus.
YOU CAN CATCH AUSTRALIAN BAT LYSSAVIRUS FROM TOUCHING FLYING-FOX DROPPINGS
Australian Bat Lyssavirus is a virus that is similar to rabies. The virus can only be transmitted through contact of mucous membranes (including the eye) or broken skin with the saliva or neural tissues of a bat. To date there have only been three confirmed cases of Australian Bat Lyssavirus in humans. These have all occurred in Queensland and were the result of direct flying-fox bites or scratches during the handling of infected animals.
There are no obvious indicators that a flying-fox is carrying the virus, therefore it is always best to assume that any flying-fox could be infected.