Navigation Links
Researchers bust bat rabies stereotype

Bats tend to have a bad reputation. They sleep all day, party at night, and are commonly thought to be riddled with rabies. A study by University of Calgary researchers has confirmed that bats are not as disease-ridden as the stigma suggests.

"The notion that bats have high rates of rabies is not true," says Brandon Klug, a graduate student at the University of Calgary and the lead author of a paper published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.

"Those of us that work with bats have always known the rates are low; and now we have evidence that bats aren't disease-ridden vermin their reputation would have you believe."

Previous studies have suggested that typically about 10 per cent of bats taken by the public to be tested have the disease and prevalence varies greatly, depending on the species and how often that species is around people. But University of Calgary research says the number is closer to one per cent regardless of species or where the bats roost.

Researchers compared bats turned in by the general public and those randomly sampled from their natural environment. In the field, they looked for the disease in carcasses of migratory tree-roosting hoary bats (Lasiurus cinereus) and silver-haired bats (Lasionycteris noctivagans) killed by wind turbines. These species are among bat species with the highest reported prevalence of rabies in North America. At the same time they compared these bats with rabies prevalence from literature contained in public health records in North America.

"This study is significant because it confirms that rabies rates for bats has been over-estimated. It's also the first time such a rigorous literature review has been completed on this topic," says co-author Dr. Robert Barclay, biological science professor and head of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary.

University of Calgary researchers sent 217 carcasses to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S for testing. They also reviewed the literature on reported rabies in multiple bat species in North America covering the past 56 years, which included 65,096 bats.

Bats, along with other species including foxes, skunks and raccoons, are considered reservoirs for the disease. Rabies is passed from bat to bat at a rate that keeps the virus in the population, but rarely fast enough to eradicate the bat population or slow enough to result in the demise of the virus.

"Since the background rabies rate in bats is low, less than one percent, people should focus more on the ecosystem services they provide without worrying that every other bat has rabies. This is especially important right now because bats are facing some heavy threats, like wind turbines and white nose syndrome," says Klug.

"With that said, healthy bats normally don't come in contact with people, so those that do are more likely to be sick, so we're not encouraging people to go out and handle them."


Contact: Leanne Yohemas
University of Calgary

Related biology news :

1. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
2. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
3. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
4. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
9. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
10. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
11. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Researchers bust bat rabies stereotype
(Date:11/12/2015)... 11, 2015   Growing need for low-cost, ... has been paving the way for use of ... discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and ... used in medical applications, however, their adoption is ... to continuous emphasis on improving product quality and ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... Nov. 10, 2015 About ... that helps to identify and verify the identity ... considered as the secure and accurate method of ... a particular individual because each individual,s signature is ... especially when dynamic signature of an individual is ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... ALBANY, New York , November 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... According to a new market report published by Transparency ... Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", ... value of US$ 30.3 bn by 2022. The market ... during the forecast period from 2015 to 2022. Rising ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 Studies reveal ... human plaque and pave the way for more effective treatment ... cats     --> ... diagnosed health problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood ... collaborative studies have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... a fireside chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th ... . The discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, ... .  A replay will be available for 14 days ... , Julie NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today ... following conference, and invited investors to participate via webcast. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: ... behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that as ... no corporate developments that would cause the recent movements ... --> About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... --> Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical company ...
Breaking Biology Technology: