During the past decade, bats were shown to a major source for new viruses. Among them are well known coronaviruses such as SRAS or MERS but also Ebola. At the same time, no direct infection from bat to human has been demonstrated. The dynamic of transmission of bat-borne viruses is therefore a complex process involving both sylvatic and urban cycles, and intermediate hosts not always identified. The threat potentially exists, and drivers must be sought for man-made environmental changes. Anthropized environments are mosaic landscapes attracting at the same place different bat species usually not found together. Anthropized landscape is also characterized by a higher density of bat-borne viruses. The threat of new bat-borne virus outbreaks has greatly increased in the recent years along with media anthropization and the extremely rapid deforestation process. Deforestation could be a major contributing factor to new viral emergences due to more frequent contacts of livestock and humans with bats possibly containing infectious viruses.
Part of the book: Bats