Continent-wide panmixia of an African fruit bat facilitates transmission of potentially zoonotic viruses

Peel, A.J. et al. (2013) Continent-wide panmixia of an African fruit bat facilitates transmission of potentially zoonotic viruses. Nature Communications, 4, Art. 2770. (doi: 10.1038/ncomms3770)

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The straw-coloured fruit bat, Eidolon helvum, is Africa’s most widely distributed and commonly hunted fruit bat, often living in close proximity to human populations. This species has been identified as a reservoir of potentially zoonotic viruses, but uncertainties remain regarding viral transmission dynamics and mechanisms of persistence. Here we combine genetic and serological analyses of populations across Africa, to determine the extent of epidemiological connectivity among E. helvum populations. Multiple markers reveal panmixia across the continental range, at a greater geographical scale than previously recorded for any other mammal, whereas populations on remote islands were genetically distinct. Multiple serological assays reveal antibodies to henipaviruses and Lagos bat virus in all locations, including small isolated island populations, indicating that factors other than population size and connectivity may be responsible for viral persistence. Our findings have potentially important public health implications, and highlight a need to avoid disturbances that may precipitate viral spillover.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lembo, Dr Tiziana
Authors: Peel, A.J., Sargan, D.R., Baker, K.S., Hayman, D.T.S., Barr, J.A., Crameri, G., Suu-Ire, R., Broder, C.C., Lembo, T., Wang, L., Fooks, A.R., Rossiter, S.J., Wood, J.L.N., and Cunningham, A.A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Nature Communications
ISSN (Online):2041-1723

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