Alison J Peel

Alison J Peel
Griffith University · Environmental Futures Research Institute

BVSc BSc(Vet) MSc PhD

About

150
Publications
22,538
Reads
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2,670
Citations
Citations since 2016
83 Research Items
2317 Citations
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Introduction
My primary interests lie in the dynamics and drivers of infectious disease in wildlife, and particularly regarding the role of landscape change and anthropogenic influence. My current research is focussed on applying theoretical understanding of multi-host-multi-pathogen communities to Hendra virus, a zoonotic virus transmitted from some species of flying foxes to horses and humans.
Additional affiliations
March 2008 - December 2012
University of Cambridge
September 2006 - December 2012
Zoological Society of London

Publications

Publications (150)
Article
Background Billions of people living in poverty are at risk of environmentally mediated infectious diseases—that is, pathogens with environmental reservoirs that affect disease persistence and control and where environmental control of pathogens can reduce human risk. The complex ecology of these diseases creates a global health problem not easily...
Article
During recent decades, pathogens that originated in bats have become an increasing public health concern. A major challenge is to identify how those pathogens spill over into human populations to generate a pandemic threat1. Many correlational studies associate spillover with changes in land use or other anthropogenic stressors2,3, although the mec...
Article
Full-text available
The ecological conditions experienced by wildlife reservoirs affect infection dynamics and thus the distribution of pathogen excreted into the environment. This spatial and temporal distribution of shed pathogen has been hypothesised to shape risks of zoonotic spillover. However, few systems have data on both long‐term ecological conditions and pat...
Article
Full-text available
As sustainable development practitioners have worked to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all” and “conserve life on land and below water”, what progress has been made with win–win interventions that reduce human infectious disease burdens while advancing conservation goals? Using a systematic literature review, we identified 46 prop...
Article
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In October 2021, the first contemporary detection of Hendra virus genotype 2 (HeV-g2) was made by routine surveillance veterinary priority disease investigation in a horse near Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, as part of routine veterinary priority disease surveillance. This discovery followed an update of Hendra virus diagnostic assays follo...
Article
Urban-living wildlife can be exposed to metal contaminants dispersed into the environment through industrial, residential, and agricultural applications. Metal exposure carries lethal and sublethal consequences for animals; in particular, heavy metals (e.g. arsenic, lead, mercury) can damage organs and act as carcinogens. Many bat species reside an...
Article
Full-text available
The black flying fox (Pteropus alecto) is a natural reservoir for Hendra virus, a paramyxo-virus that causes fatal infections in humans and horses in Australia. Increased excretion of Hendra virus by flying foxes has been hypothesized to be associated with physiological or energetic stress in the reservoir hosts. The objective of this study was to...
Article
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Due to their geographical isolation and small populations, insular bats may not be able to maintain acute immunising viruses that rely on a large population for viral maintenance. Instead, endemic transmission may rely on viruses establishing persistent infections within hosts or inducing only short‐lived neutralizing immunity. Therefore, studies o...
Article
A novel Hendra virus variant, genotype 2, was recently discovered in a horse that died after acute illness and in Pteropus flying fox tissues in Australia. We detected the variant in flying fox urine, the pathway relevant for spillover, supporting an expanded geographic range of Hendra virus risk to horses and humans.
Article
Full-text available
We identified and isolated a novel Hendra virus (HeV) variant not detected by routine testing from a horse in Queensland, Australia, that died from acute illness with signs consistent with HeV infection. Using whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis, we determined the variant had ≈83% nt identity with prototypic HeV. In silico and in vitr...
Article
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SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, infected over 100 million people globally by February 2021. Reverse zoonotic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from humans to other species has been documented in pet cats and dogs, big cats and gorillas in zoos, and farmed mink. As SARS-CoV-2 is closely related to known bat viruses, assessment of the potential risk of t...
Article
In the past two decades, three coronaviruses with ancestral origins in bats have emerged and caused widespread outbreaks in humans, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Since the first SARS epidemic in 2002–2003, the appreciation of bats as key hosts of zoonotic coronaviruses has advanced rapidly. More than 4,000...
Preprint
Full-text available
Estimating the prevalence of a disease is necessary for evaluating and mitigating risks of its transmission within or between populations. Estimates that consider how prevalence changes with time provide more information about these risks but are difficult to obtain due to the necessary sampling intensity and commensurate testing costs. We propose...
Article
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Models of host‐pathogen interactions help to explain infection dynamics in wildlife populations and to predict and mitigate the risk of zoonotic spillover. Insights from models inherently depend on the way contacts between hosts are modelled, and crucially, how transmission scales with animal density. Bats are important reservoirs of zoonotic disea...
Article
Full-text available
• Fruit bats (Family: Pteropodidae) are animals of great ecological and economic importance, yet their populations are threatened by ongoing habitat loss and human persecution. A lack of ecological knowledge for the vast majority of Pteropodid species presents additional challenges for their conservation and management. • In Australia, populations...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Co-infection, coinfection, and concomitant infections are all terms used to describe the occurrence of more than one simultaneous infection in individual hosts, populations, or communities. With a growing number of pathogens being discovered and emerging from shifting between different host species, it is perhaps little surprise that co-infection a...
Article
Full-text available
• The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of efficient sampling strategies and statistical methods for monitoring infection prevalence, both in humans and in reservoir hosts. Pooled testing can be an efficient tool for learning pathogen prevalence in a population. Typically, pooled testing requires a second-phase retesting procedure to...
Article
Full-text available
Outbreaks of infectious viruses resulting from spillover events from bats have brought much attention to bat-borne zoonoses, which has motivated increased ecological and epidemiological studies on bat populations. Field sampling methods often collect pooled samples of bat excreta from plastic sheets placed under-roosts. However, positive bias is in...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ecological conditions experienced by wildlife reservoir hosts affect the amount of pathogen they excrete into the environment. This then shapes pathogen pressure, the amount of pathogen available to recipient hosts over space and time, which affects spillover risk. Few systems have data on both long-term ecological conditions and pathogen press...
Article
Full-text available
The spatial organisation of populations determines their pathogen dynamics. This is particularly important for communally roosting species, whose aggregations are often driven by the spatial structure of their environment. We develop a spatially explicit model for virus transmission within roosts of Australian tree-dwelling bats (Pteropus spp.), pa...
Preprint
1. Fruit bats (Family: Pteropodidae) are animals of great ecological and economic importance, yet their populations are threatened by ongoing habitat loss and human persecution. A lack of ecological knowledge for the vast majority of Pteropodid bat species presents additional challenges for their conservation and management. 2. In Australia, popula...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of efficient sampling strategies and statistical methods for monitoring infection prevalence, both in humans and reservoir hosts. Pooled testing can be an efficient tool for learning pathogen prevalence in a population. Typically pooled testing requires a second phase follow up procedure to id...
Preprint
1. Fruit bats (Family: Pteropodidae) are animals of great ecological and economic importance, yet their populations are threatened by ongoing habitat loss and human persecution. A lack of ecological knowledge for the vast majority of Pteropodid bat species presents additional challenges for their conservation and management. 2. In Australia, popula...
Article
To reach the Sustainable Development Goals, we may need to act on synergies between some targets while mediating trade-offs between other targets. But what, exactly, are synergies and trade-offs, and how are they related to other outcomes, such as ‘win–win’ solutions? Finding limited guidance in the existing literature, we developed an operational...
Article
Ross River virus (RRV) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic arbovirus associated with high public health and economic burdens across Australia, but particularly in South East Queensland (SEQ). Despite this high burden, humans are considered incidental hosts. Transmission of RRV is maintained among mosquitoes and many nonhuman vertebrate reservoir hosts, al...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the substantial public health, economic, and societal consequences of virus spillover from a wildlife reservoir. Widespread human transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also presents a new set of challenges when considering viral spillover from people to naïve wildlife and other...
Article
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In June 2019 the first equine case of Hendra virus in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia was detected. An urgent human and animal health response took place, involving biosecurity measures, contact tracing, promotion of equine vaccinations and investigation of flying fox activity in the area. No human or additional animal cases occurred....
Article
Transmission of vector-borne pathogens can vary in complexity from single-vector, single-host systems through to multivector, multihost vertebrate systems. Understanding the dynamics of transmission is important for disease prevention efforts, but is dependent on disentangling complex interactions within coupled natural systems. Ross River virus (R...
Article
Full-text available
Australia's 81 bat species play vital ecological and economic roles via suppression of insect pests and maintenance of native forests through pollination and seed dispersal. Bats also host a wide diversity of coronaviruses globally, including several viral species that are closely related to SARS-CoV-2 and other emergent human respiratory coronavir...
Article
Dose is the nexus between exposure and all upstream processes that determine pathogen pressure, and is thereby an important element underlying disease dynamics. Understanding the relationship between dose and disease is particularly important in the context of spillover, where nonlinearities in the dose–response could determine the likelihood of tr...
Article
Full-text available
Spillover of a pathogen from a wildlife reservoir into a human or livestock host requires the pathogen to overcome a hierarchical series of barriers. Interventions aimed at one or more of these barriers may be able to prevent the occurrence of spillover. Here, we demonstrate how interventions that target the ecological context in which spillover oc...
Article
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Pathogen circulation among reservoir hosts is a precondition for zoonotic spillover. Unlike the acute, high morbidity infections typical in spillover hosts, infected reservoir hosts often exhibit low morbidity and mortality. Although it has been proposed that reservoir host infections may be persistent with recurrent episodes of shedding, direct ev...
Article
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Within host-parasite communities, viral co-circulation and co-infections of hosts are the norm, yet studies of significant emerging zoonoses tend to focus on a single parasite species within the host. Using a multiplexed paramyxovirus bead-based PCR on urine samples from Australian flying foxes, we show that multi-viral shedding from flying fox pop...
Article
The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline. Recent advances in genomics have coalesced into powerful tools to monitor, detect, and reconstruct the role of pathogens impacting wildlife populations. Wildlife researchers are thus uniquely positioned to merge ecological...
Article
The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline. Recent advances in genomics have coalesced into powerful tools to monitor, detect, and reconstruct the role of pathogens impacting wildlife populations. Wildlife researchers are thus uniquely positioned to merge ecological...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mosquito-borne pathogens contribute significantly to the global burden of disease, infecting millions of people each year. Mosquito feeding is critical to the transmission dynamics of pathogens, and thus it is important to understanding and interpreting mosquito feeding patterns. In this paper we explore mosquito feeding patterns and the...
Article
Full-text available
Bats are reservoirs for emerging human pathogens, including Hendra and Nipah henipaviruses and Ebola and Marburg filoviruses. These viruses demonstrate predictable patterns in seasonality and age structure across multiple systems; previous work suggests that they may circulate in Madagascar's endemic fruit bats, which are widely consumed as human f...
Article
Individual hosts differ extensively in their competence for parasites, but traditional research has discounted this variation, partly because modeling such heterogeneity is difficult. This discounting has diminished as tools have improved and recognition has grown that some hosts, the extremely competent, can have exceptional impacts on disease dyn...
Article
Full-text available
The outbreak and transmission of disease-causing pathogens are contributing to the unprecedented rate of biodiversity decline. Recent advances in genomics have coalesced into powerful tools to monitor, detect, and reconstruct the role of pathogens impacting wildlife populations. Wildlife researchers are thus uniquely positioned to merge ecological...
Article
Full-text available
Hendra virus (HeV) continues to cause fatal infection in horses and threaten infection in close-contact humans in eastern Australia. Species of Pteropus bats (flying-foxes) are the natural reservoir of the virus. We caught and sampled flying-foxes from a multispecies roost in southeast Queensland, Australia on eight occasions between June 2013 and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mosquito-borne pathogens contribute significantly to the global burden of disease, infecting millions of people each year. Mosquito feeding is critical to the transmission dynamics of pathogens, and thus it is important to understanding and interpreting mosquito feeding patterns. In this paper we explore mosquito feeding patterns and their implicat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Notable outbreaks of infectious viruses resulting from spillover events from bats have brought much attention to the ecological origins of bat-borne zoonoses, resulting in an increase in ecological and epidemiological studies on bat populations in Africa, Asia, and Australia. The aim of many of these studies is to identify new viral agents with fie...
Article
Old World fruit bats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) provide critical pollination and seed dispersal services to forest ecosystems across Africa, Asia, and Australia. In each of these regions, pteropodids have been identified as natural reservoir hosts for henipaviruses. The genus Henipavirus includes Hendra virus and Nipah virus, which regularly spill...
Article
Full-text available
In the Australian subtropics, flying-foxes (family Pteropididae) play a fundamental ecological role as forest pollinators. Flying-foxes are also reservoirs of the fatal zoonosis, Hendra virus. Understanding flying fox foraging ecology, particularly in agricultural areas during winter, is critical to determine their role in transmitting Hendra virus...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Arboviruses account for approximately 17% of the global human infectious disease burden. The most prevalent arbovirus in Australia, Ross River virus (RRV), is maintained in enzoonotic cycles between mosquitoes and non-human reservoirs, with resultant spillover in human populations. Despite the significant public health (~4800 notifications/year) an...
Article
Determining the role of an infectious agent in contributing to wildlife population declines is a pervasive problem in the field of conservation biology. We expand on a recently proposed broad investigative approach for disease, with a systematic framework outlining the specific types of individual- and population-scale empirical evidence required t...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the non-human reservoirs of zoonotic pathogens is critical for effective disease control, but identifying the relative contributions of the various reservoirs of multi-host pathogens is challenging. For Ross River virus (RRV), knowledge of the transmission dynamics, in particular the role of non-human species, is important. In Austral...
Article
Full-text available
Bat-borne viruses carry undeniable risks to the health of human beings and animals, and there is growing recognition of the need for a 'One Health' approach to understand their frequently complex spill-over routes. While domesticated animals can play central roles in major spill- over events of zoonotic bat-borne viruses, for example during the pig...
Article
Full-text available
Spatiotemporally-localised prediction of virus emergence from wildlife requires focused studies on the ecology and immunology of reservoir hosts in their native habitat. Reliable predictions from mathematical models remain difficult in most systems due to a dearth of appropriate empirical data. Our goal was to study the circulation and immune dynam...
Article
Full-text available
Spatiotemporally-localised prediction of virus emergence from wildlife requires focused studies on the ecology and immunology of reservoir hosts in their native habitat. Reliable predictions from mathematical models remain difficult in most systems due to a dearth of appropriate empirical data. Our goal was to study the circulation and immune dynam...
Article
Bat-borne viruses carry undeniable risks to the health of human beings and animals, and there is growing recognition of the need for a 'One Health' approach to understand their frequently complex spill-over routes. While domesticated animals can play central roles in major spill-over events of zoonotic bat-borne viruses, for example during the pig-...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding infection dynamics in animal hosts is fundamental to managing spillover and emergence of zoonotic infections. Hendra virus is endemic in Australian pteropodid bat populations and can be lethal to horses and humans. However, we know little about the factors driving Hendra virus prevalence in resevoir bat populations, making spillover d...
Conference Paper
Following the request for animal sera in February 2017 for surveillance of arboviruses, more than 300 samples across 8 domestic and wildlife clinics have been collected. Some of the key challenges that were faced during this process included a loss of motivation in clinics, a lack of resources and miscommunication about the research objectives. Dif...
Conference Paper
Successful management of infectious human and animal diseases can hinge on an accurate understanding of the transmission dynamics of the disease. For multi-host pathogens, it can be challenging to disentangle the complex transmission dynamics, and often requires multiple strains of evidence to identify reservoirs of infection. This is particularly...
Article
Full-text available
The straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is a common and conspicuous migratory species, with an extensive distribution across sub-Saharan Africa, yet hunting and habitat loss are thought to be resulting in decline in some areas. Eidolon helvum is also a known reservoir for potentially zoonotic viruses. Despite E. helvum's importance, ecologica...
Article
Full-text available
The straw-coloured fruit bat, $\textit{Eidolon helvum}$, is a common and conspicuous migratory species, with an extensive distribution across sub-Saharan Africa, yet hunting and habitat loss are thought to be resulting in decline in some areas. $\textit{Eidolon helvum}$ is also a known reservoir for potentially zoonotic viruses. Despite $\textit{E....
Article
Full-text available
Understanding viral transmission dynamics within populations of reservoir hosts can facilitate greater knowledge of the spillover of emerging infectious diseases. While bat-borne viruses are of concern to public health, investigations into their dynamics have been limited by a lack of longitudinal data from individual bats. Here, we examine capture...