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Table 1 EIDs of immediate importance to Australasia

From: Implementing a One Health approach to emerging infectious disease: reflections on the socio-political, ethical and legal dimensions

Hendra virus infection is endemic among at least two species of flying fox in Australia and causes rare, but catastrophic, human infection [85]. Loss of habitat has led to increasingly intense incursions of flying foxes into populated rural and peri-urban areas and promoted the ‘spill-over’ of Hendra virus into horses and then to people [86]. Hundreds of people have been directly exposed to Hendra virus, with seven confirmed human infections and four deaths since 1994. With over one hundred dead horses and persistent risk, the emergence of Hendra has had significant impact on equine and tourist industries in north eastern Australia, diverted major research resources and caused significant distress and controversy in the broader community [31, 87].
Nipah virus, a close relative of Hendra, is endemic in East Asian flying fox populations. In 1999, after a program of deforestation and agricultural development in Eastern Malaysia it spread to pigs then humans and other animals, causing respiratory disease and severe encephalitis [88]. It subsequently was reported in India and Bangladesh. Humans can be infected directly from bats, by ingestion of contaminated food and from other humans. Among 522 confirmed human cases, the overall mortality was greater than 50 % [89]. Nipah control programs devastated Malaysia’s pig industry and caused high unemployment and dislocation of rural populations, at a cost of more than US$1 billion to the national economy [90]. Nipah virus has been identified by WHO as a likely cause of future pandemics.
Rabies virus infects the central nervous systems of people, wildlife and domestic mammals. The disease is transmitted by bites from infected animals and once it becomes symptomatic, it is virtually always fatal. 55,000 people die and 7.5 million receive post exposure prophylaxis annually, costing $124 billion [91]. Rabies is endemic in much of South East Asia but its range is expanding. Focusing on Australia, the continent is free from Rabies, but the current expansion of the disease in Indonesia [92] is a genuine threat to northern regions. Although likely controllable in domestic dog populations [93], if Rabies were to become endemic amongst wild or feral animals in this setting, current modelling indicates it would be almost impossible to eradicate [94].