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Emerg Infect Dis. Bat Flight and Zoonotic Viruses

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  • Emerg Infect Dis. Bat Flight and Zoonotic Viruses

    [Source: Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


    Volume 20, Number 5—May 2014 / Perspective

    Bat Flight and Zoonotic Viruses

    Thomas J. O’Shea, Paul M. Cryan, Andrew A. Cunningham, Anthony R. Fooks, David T.S. Hayman, Angela D. Luis, Alison J. Peel, Raina K. Plowright, and James L.N. Wood

    Author affiliations: US Geological Survey, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (T.J. O’Shea, P.M. Cryan); Zoological Society of London, London, UK (A.A. Cunningham); Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency—Weybridge, Weybridge, UK (A.R. Fooks); National Consortium for Zoonosis Research, South Wirral, UK (A.R. Fooks); Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (D.T.S. Hayman, A.D. Luis); University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA (D.T.S. Hayman); Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA (A.D. Luis); University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK (A.J. Peel, J.L.N. Wood); Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (A.J. Peel); Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA (R.K. Plowright)


    Abstract

    Bats are sources of high viral diversity and high-profile zoonotic viruses worldwide. Although apparently not pathogenic in their reservoir hosts, some viruses from bats severely affect other mammals, including humans. Examples include severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses, Ebola and Marburg viruses, and Nipah and Hendra viruses. Factors underlying high viral diversity in bats are the subject of speculation. We hypothesize that flight, a factor common to all bats but to no other mammals, provides an intensive selective force for coexistence with viral parasites through a daily cycle that elevates metabolism and body temperature analogous to the febrile response in other mammals. On an evolutionary scale, this host–virus interaction might have resulted in the large diversity of zoonotic viruses in bats, possibly through bat viruses adapting to be more tolerant of the fever response and less virulent to their natural hosts.


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