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12.05.2017 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 2/2017

EcoHealth 2/2017

Seasonal Fluctuations of Astrovirus, But Not Coronavirus Shedding in Bats Inhabiting Human-Modified Tropical Forests

EcoHealth > Ausgabe 2/2017
Anne Seltmann, Victor M. Corman, Andrea Rasche, Christian Drosten, Gábor Á. Czirják, Henry Bernard, Matthew J. Struebig, Christian C. Voigt


Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) are considered a major threat to global health. Most EIDs appear to result from increased contact between wildlife and humans, especially when humans encroach into formerly pristine habitats. Habitat deterioration may also negatively affect the physiology and health of wildlife species, which may eventually lead to a higher susceptibility to infectious agents and/or increased shedding of the pathogens causing EIDs. Bats are known to host viruses closely related to important EIDs. Here, we tested in a paleotropical forest with ongoing logging and fragmentation, whether habitat disturbance influences the occurrence of astro- and coronaviruses in eight bat species. In contrast to our hypothesis, anthropogenic habitat disturbance was not associated with corona- and astrovirus detection rates in fecal samples. However, we found that bats infected with either astro- or coronaviruses were likely to be coinfected with the respective other virus. Additionally, we identified two more risk factors influencing astrovirus shedding. First, the detection rate of astroviruses was higher at the beginning of the rainy compared to the dry season. Second, there was a trend that individuals with a poor body condition had a higher probability of shedding astroviruses in their feces. The identification of risk factors for increased viral shedding that may potentially result in increased interspecies transmission is important to prevent viral spillovers from bats to other animals, including humans.

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