Thursday, 21 November 2013

Bats and disease

Emerging infectious diseases pose a significant threat to human and animal welfare. A high proportion of emerging and reemerging infectious diseases are zoonoses derived from wildlife. Bats harbour more zoonotic viruses per species than rodents and are now recognised as a significant source of zoonotic agents. Henipaviruses, coronaviruses, filoviruses, and the rabies-causing lyssaviruses have all been shown to be transmissible from bats to humans - often through an intermediate host—with fatal consequences. Despite the obvious risk bat viruses pose to human health, it must be acknowledged that most outbreaks of bat-borne zoonotic diseases are a consequence of human activities. From an ecological perspective, bats are a remarkable and ecologically important group with many unique biological features.

There is more on this topic at PLOS Pathogens.
Posted by Tim Sandle