Friday, 13 November 2009

Ignorance ruled in Maclean on Wednesday as folk went rather batty

Yesterday parents and students at Maclean High School staged a demonstration concerning the ongoing and problematic existence of a flying fox colony on land adjoining school property.

Pre-warned about this batty event, the media was at hand to film one adult shouting about how someone or other would be sorry if a child contracted Hendra Virus.
Without a blush another stated for the camera that all that was needed now was "the zombies".

WTF! Zombies? Hendra Virus straight from bat to human? A fear straight from the depths of ignorance via unreliable folklore it seems.

The World Health Organisation is pretty clear that humans catch the viral infection in this manner:
  • Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are the natural hosts of Hendra virus.

  • Horses are the only species of domestic animal that can be naturally infected with Hendra virus.

  • Hendra virus is transmitted to people through close contact with infected horses or their body fluids.

  • To date, no human-to-human transmission of Hendra virus has been documented.
If a school student were to attempt to catch a bat and was scratched or bitten that student could just possibly get Lyssa Virus (although only two cases have ever been reported in Australia and a precautionary 3-dose vaccination is readily available), but as far as science and medicine is aware, Hendra Virus infection would not pass from that bat to the teenager.

Nipah Virus which is also naturally found in bats is not known to have caused human/animal infection in Australia to date.

As former Maclean Shire Mayor and wannabe Nationals politician Chris Gulaptis proved some years ago as he positioned himself to run for local government election - when it comes to protected flying foxes some hysterical Maclean residents will believe anything and follow any rabble rouser at the head of the herd.

Perhaps the next time anyone in Maclean starts yelling for benefit of the media they might at least get their facts right.
Otherwise they are just plain embarrassing.


This morning's The Daily Examiner contained an explanation as to why the nocturnal grey-headed flying foxes were so conveniently active for the media audience - an as yet unknown person has thrown at least one fire cracker into the breeding colony.

One cannot really blame the young students because they were so clearly led by a red-neck element within the Maclean High School P&C. However, the parents should be ashamed of the lesson in ignorant and wanton cruelty they are giving their children, as well as the total dishonesty they displayed by trying to set the stage with agitated bats in an effort manipulate the all too conveniently gullible complicit media.

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