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Serological evidence of virus infection in Eidolon helvum fruit bats: implications for bushmeat consumption in Nigeria

Cantoni, Diego, Mayora-Neto, Martin, Derveni, Mariliza, da Costa, Kelly, Del Rosario, Joanne, Ameh, Veronica O., Sabeta, Claude T., Auld, Bethany, Hamlet, Arran, Jones, Ian M., and others. (2023) Serological evidence of virus infection in Eidolon helvum fruit bats: implications for bushmeat consumption in Nigeria. Frontiers in Public Health, 11 . ISSN 2296-2565. (doi:10.3389/fpubh.2023.1283113) (KAR id:104088)


Introduction: The Eidolon helvum fruit bat is one of the most widely distributed fruit bats in Africa and known to be a reservoir for several pathogenic viruses that can cause disease in animals and humans. To assess the risk of zoonotic spillover, we conducted a serological survey of 304 serum samples from E. helvum bats that were captured for human consumption in Makurdi, Nigeria.

Methods: Using pseudotyped viruses, we screened 304 serum samples for neutralizing antibodies against viruses from the Coronaviridae, Filoviridae, Orthomyxoviridae and Paramyxoviridae families.

Results: We report the presence of neutralizing antibodies against henipavirus lineage GH-M74a virus (odds ratio 6.23; p < 0.001), Nipah virus (odds ratio 4.04; p = 0.00031), bat influenza H17N10 virus (odds ratio 7.25; p < 0.001) and no significant association with Ebola virus (odds ratio 0.56; p = 0.375) in this bat cohort.

Conclusion: The data suggest a potential risk of zoonotic spillover including the possible circulation of highly pathogenic viruses in E. helvum populations. These findings highlight the importance of maintaining sero-surveillance of E. helvum, and the necessity for further, more comprehensive investigations to monitor changes in virus prevalence, distribution over time, and across different geographic locations.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3389/fpubh.2023.1283113
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author(s) has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising.
Uncontrolled keywords: pseudotypes, H17N10, Marburg virus, henipavirus, Nipah virus, Eidolon helvum, Ebola virus, Ghana bat henipavirus
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR355 Virology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Medway School of Pharmacy
Funders: Wellcome Trust (
Medical Research Council (
Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (
Depositing User: Nigel Temperton
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2023 13:54 UTC
Last Modified: 08 May 2024 03:16 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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