Since December 2020, unusual clusters of flaccid paralysis have been identified in flying-foxes in South East Queensland and North East NSW, particularly over the summer months. To date, black, grey-headed and little red flying-foxes have been affected. Anecdotally, cases appear to be correlated with periods of heavy rain. Preliminary investigations have ruled out known causes of paralysis, and in lieu of a diagnosis the syndrome has been named Flying Fox Paralysis Syndrome (FFPS). Investigations into the cause of FFPS are ongoing, and further cases are anticipated in the 2022/2023 summer.
An investigation into ‘flying-fox paralysis syndrome’ is being coordinated by an inter-agency working group. The group is being led by Dr Alison Peel and includes a number of members of the Bat Health Focus Group.
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 this event, please fill out their Flying-fox Event Report Form and return it to WHA. If you are working with others, it would be helpful if you could fill out the form together to avoid duplication of information.
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:
In NSW: call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation group or local veterinarian. See the NSW DPIE website for further advice and to find your local rehabilitation group.
In Queensland: call the RSPCA on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625). See the Qld DES website for further advice.
If you see any unusual signs of disease or deaths in wildlife you can report it to:
Your WHA Coordinator
the 24 hour Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888
your local veterinarian