Investigating the role of bats in emerging zoonoses
With over 1,150 bat species worldwide – representing about twenty percent of the biodiversity of all mammalian species – they carry out important ecological and agricultural functions such pollination and dispersion of seeds. And while many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats for the distribution of their seeds, it is true that in the tropics bats can also be carriers of important diseases such as rabies, mokola, duvenhage, hendra or nipah viruses. These are the ones we know of today, but some 40 years ago, all we knew was about rabies. Is there more we should be doing?
This manual, “Investigating the role of bats in emerging zoonoses: Balancing ecology, conservation and public health interests” is an introduction to the complex issues associated with a One Health approach to understanding the biology and ecological importance of bats, and the drivers of zoonotic disease emergence from bats to people. As an introduction, this manual will provide a basis for understanding the need to balance natural resource management, disease surveillance, prevention and control.