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Prevalence of bat viruses associated with land-use change in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil

Loh, Elizabeth H., Nava, Alessandra, Murray, Kris A., Olival, Kevin J., Guimarães, Moisés, Shimabukuro, Juliana, Zambrana-Torrelio, Carlos, Fonseca, Fernanda R., de Oliveira, Daniele Bruna Leal, Campos, Angélica Cristine de Almeida, and others. (2022) Prevalence of bat viruses associated with land-use change in the Atlantic Forest, Brazil. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 12 . Article Number 921950. ISSN 2235-2988. (doi:10.3389/fcimb.2022.921950) (KAR id:99300)


Introduction: Bats are critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems and many species are threatened primarily due to global habitat loss. Bats are also important hosts of a range of viruses, several of which have had significant impacts on global public health. The emergence of these viruses has been associated with land-use change and decreased host species richness. Yet, few studies have assessed how bat communities and the viruses they host alter with land-use change, particularly in highly biodiverse sites.

Methods: In this study, we investigate the effects of deforestation on bat host species richness and diversity, and viral prevalence and richness across five forested sites and three nearby deforested sites in the interior Atlantic Forest of southern Brazil. Nested-PCR and qPCR were used to amplify and detect viral genetic sequence from six viral families (corona-, adeno-, herpes-, hanta-, paramyxo-, and astro-viridae) in 944 blood, saliva and rectal samples collected from 335 bats.

Results: We found that deforested sites had a less diverse bat community than forested sites, but higher viral prevalence and richness after controlling for confounding factors. Viral detection was more likely in juvenile males located in deforested sites. Interestingly, we also found a significant effect of host bat species on viral prevalence indicating that viral taxa were detected more frequently in some species than others. In particular, viruses from the Coronaviridae family were detected more frequently in generalist species compared to specialist species.

Discussion: Our findings suggest that deforestation may drive changes in the ecosystem which reduce bat host diversity while increasing the abundance of generalist species which host a wider range of viruses.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3389/fcimb.2022.921950
Uncontrolled keywords: Cellular and Infection Microbiology, viral richness, diversity, bat host, deforestation, land-use change, viral prevalence
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Depositing User: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2023 12:46 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Feb 2023 09:55 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Struebig, Matthew J..

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