Incident Information

Information is available on a number of current wildlife health incidents in Australia, as well as selected long-term health investigations and historic wildlife health incidents. Detailed information is available in the national electronic Wildlife Health Information System (eWHIS).

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Feb, 1 2024 | More incidents

Incident - Flying-fox paralysis syndrome - south-east Qld & northern NSW - ongoing

Since December 2020, unusual clusters of flaccid paralysis have been identified in flying-foxes in a range of locations in south-east Qld and north-east NSW, which is referred to as Flying-fox Paralysis Syndrome (FFPS). Reports of FFPS have continued each year, particularly over the summer months, most recently with a spike in cases in February 2024. Clinical signs include paralysis and paresis (limb weakness), protruding tongue, inability to swallow or blink, and difficulty breathing. To date, black, grey-headed and little red flying-foxes have been affected. Anecdotally, cases appear to be correlated with periods of heavy rain. For more information: Flying-fox Paralysis Syndrome - Interim case definition, sample collection & treatment advice.

Investigations to date have ruled out a number of known causes of paralysis, and no evidence of an infectious cause has been found (Paralysis event in flying foxes in Queensland and New South Wales). Possible causes under consideration include a plant, fungal or other toxin, or a metabolic cause.

A collaborative effort between wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians, scientists and government agencies continues to work towards finding a cause for these events. Recently, the apparent geographic and seasonal overlap between FFPS and similar clusters of paralysis affecting rainbow lorikeets (Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome, LPS) has been examined, particularly because flying-foxes and lorikeets share a similar ecological niche including food sources. A combined FFPS/LPS group has been formed, with two working groups focussing on diagnostics and incident preparedness and response.

Wildlife Health Australia is collecting information to better understand the geographic range, species and age of animals affected, and range of clinical signs. If you have information on FFPS events, please fill out the Flying-fox Event Report Form and return it to WHA.
Members of the public should not handle flying-foxes due to the risk of exposure to diseases such as Australian bat lyssavirus. If you find a sick, injured or abandoned flying-fox:

 If you see any unusual signs of disease or deaths in wildlife you can report it to:

Download: Flying-fox Event Report Form

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