Bats, Birds, Bugs and Us
Date: 10:00 am | Saturday 8 October 2011
Venue: Bonython Hall
Hendra, Nipah, Ebola, Marburg, SARS – names that are variously familiar to all of us. What links them in our minds is the idea of scary, lethal infections. What links these viruses in nature is that they are unapparent infections of fruit bats. Bats are the most abundant mammals on the planet. Birds are everywhere too, and birds are the primary reservoirs of the influenza A viruses and a spectrum of mosquito-borne infections. Though we’ve known for years about vampire bats spreading rabies in South America, the awareness that bat-carried diseases can be a major threat is very recent. What has changed?