Bat-Associated Microbes: Opportunities and Perils, An Overview
67 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2022 Publication Status: Published
The potential biotechnological uses of bat-associated bacteria are discussed briefly, indicating avenues for biotechnological applications of bat-associated microbes. The uniqueness of bats in terms of their lifestyle, genomes and molecular immunology may predispose bats to act as disease reservoirs. Molecular phylogenetic analysis has shown several instances of bats harbouring the ancestral lineages of bacterial ( Bartonella ), protozoal ( Plasmodium , Trypanosoma cruzi ) and viral (SARS-CoV2) pathogens infecting humans. Along with the transmission of viruses from bats, we also discuss the potential roles of bat-associated bacteria, fungi, and protozoan parasites in emerging diseases. Current evidence suggests that environmental changes and interactions between wildlife, livestock, and humans contribute to the spill-over of infectious agents from bats to other hosts. Domestic animals including livestock may act as intermediate amplifying hosts for bat-origin pathogens to transmit to humans. An increasing number of studies investigating bat pathogen diversity and infection dynamics have been published. However, whether or how these infectious agents are transmitted both within bat populations and to other hosts, including humans, often remains unknown. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on bat zoonoses of public health concern and flag the gaps in the knowledge to enable further research and allocation of resources for tackling future outbreaks.
Funding Information: We thank the JSPS invitational fellowship for A.P, Uehara memorial 898 foundation, and JSPS challenging exploratory grant for G.N.P.
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.
Keywords: Bats, Zoonotic disease, Borrelia, Bartonella, Trypanosoma cruzi, coronavirus
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