Why Bats?

Scientists hypothesize that some of the world’s most deadly emerging zoonotic diseases are found in bats, including Nipah, Hendra, and Marburg viruses.  However, because bats contribute significantly to the health and diversity of many environments around the world, a conservation-minded approach to their study is necessary.  There are a number of factors which could make bats unique disease reservoirs, including their social behavior, distinct physiology and metabolism, ability to travel long distances,

nocturnal activity, species diversity, and long life span. These special bat characteristics, coupled with the impact of human interactions and environmental changes, create research challenges to understanding the bat’s role in the global zoonotic disease ecology.  The Bat / One Health Research Network (BOHRN) is a global network of conservationists, disease ecologists, and clinical virologists who have organized to better understand how bat-borne disease threats filter through ecological systems.