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1.  Enhanced Passive Bat Rabies Surveillance in Indigenous Bat Species from Germany - A Retrospective Study 
In Germany, rabies in bats is a notifiable zoonotic disease, which is caused by European bat lyssaviruses type 1 and 2 (EBLV-1 and 2), and the recently discovered new lyssavirus species Bokeloh bat lyssavirus (BBLV). As the understanding of bat rabies in insectivorous bat species is limited, in addition to routine bat rabies diagnosis, an enhanced passive surveillance study, i.e. the retrospective investigation of dead bats that had not been tested for rabies, was initiated in 1998 to study the distribution, abundance and epidemiology of lyssavirus infections in bats from Germany. A total number of 5478 individuals representing 21 bat species within two families were included in this study. The Noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula) and the Common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) represented the most specimens submitted. Of all investigated bats, 1.17% tested positive for lyssaviruses using the fluorescent antibody test (FAT). The vast majority of positive cases was identified as EBLV-1, predominately associated with the Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus). However, rabies cases in other species, i.e. Nathusius' pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus nathusii), P. pipistrellus and Brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus) were also characterized as EBLV-1. In contrast, EBLV-2 was isolated from three Daubenton's bats (Myotis daubentonii). These three cases contribute significantly to the understanding of EBLV-2 infections in Germany as only one case had been reported prior to this study. This enhanced passive surveillance indicated that besides known reservoir species, further bat species are affected by lyssavirus infections. Given the increasing diversity of lyssaviruses and bats as reservoir host species worldwide, lyssavirus positive specimens, i.e. both bat and virus need to be confirmed by molecular techniques.
Author Summary
According to the World Health Organization rabies is considered both a neglected zoonotic and a tropical disease. The causative agents are lyssaviruses which have their primary reservoir in bats. Although bat rabies is notifiable in Germany, the number of submitted bats during routine surveillance is rarely representative of the natural bat population. Therefore, the aim of this study was to include dead bats from various sources for enhanced bat rabies surveillance. The results show that a considerable number of additional bat rabies cases can be detected, thus improving the knowledge on the frequency, geographical distribution and reservoir-association of bat lyssavirus infections in Germany. The overall proportion of positives was lower than during routine surveillance in Germany. While the majority of cases were found in the Serotine bat and characterized as European bat lyssavirus type 1 (EBLV-1), three of the four EBLV-2 infections detected in Germany were found in Myotis daubentonii during this study.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002835
PMCID: PMC4006713  PMID: 24784117
2.  STUDIES ON THE PATHOGENESIS OF RABIES IN INSECTIVOROUS BATS  
Studies on the pathogenesis of rabies in two species of experimentally infected insectivorous Chiroptera, the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida mexicana), a quasi hibernator, and the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), a deep hibernator, provided evidence that brown adipose tissue may serve as an extraneural site for storage and multiplication of rabies virus. Although the Mexican free-tailed bat proved to be relatively insusceptible to experimental rabies infection, virus was demonstrated in the brown fat of 22 per cent of those animals shown to be infected by viral assay in white Swiss mice. Rabies infection in this species was most evident 20 to 40 days after intramuscular inoculation of virus. Rabies virus was found to be widely distributed in the little brown myotis 9 to 26 days following inoculation and virus concentrations in some of the tissues approached the level of the stock mouse brain virus suspension used in inoculating these bats. The shorter incubation period and higher virus titers in the tissues assayed reflect the increased susceptibility of Myotis lucifugus as compared with the Mexican free-tailed bat. Virus was demonstrated in the brown fat of 30 per cent of the experimentally infected Myotis. In the experimentally infected Myotis lucifugus and in the Syrian hamster which is highly susceptible to rabies infection, rabies virus was isolated more frequently from the brown fat than from the salivary gland indicating that in a susceptible host brown adipose tissue may be as frequent a site of viral proliferation as salivary gland. Since rabies virus was found to persist for long periods of time in the brown fat of experimentally infected bats and was occasionally demonstrated in this tissue alone, it is suggested that brown adipose tissue provides a mechanism by which these animals may serve as reservoirs for this agent in nature. The possibility that similar mechanisms may be involved in the maintenance of other viral agents during interepidemic periods is discussed.
PMCID: PMC2137008  PMID: 13835624
3.  Alphacoronaviruses in New World Bats: Prevalence, Persistence, Phylogeny, and Potential for Interaction with Humans 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19156.
Bats are reservoirs for many different coronaviruses (CoVs) as well as many other important zoonotic viruses. We sampled feces and/or anal swabs of 1,044 insectivorous bats of 2 families and 17 species from 21 different locations within Colorado from 2007 to 2009. We detected alphacoronavirus RNA in bats of 4 species: big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), 10% prevalence; long-legged bats (Myotis volans), 8% prevalence; little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), 3% prevalence; and western long-eared bats (Myotis evotis), 2% prevalence. Overall, juvenile bats were twice as likely to be positive for CoV RNA as adult bats. At two of the rural sampling sites, CoV RNAs were detected in big brown and long-legged bats during the three sequential summers of this study. CoV RNA was detected in big brown bats in all five of the urban maternity roosts sampled throughout each of the periods tested. Individually tagged big brown bats that were positive for CoV RNA and later sampled again all became CoV RNA negative. Nucleotide sequences in the RdRp gene fell into 3 main clusters, all distinct from those of Old World bats. Similar nucleotide sequences were found in amplicons from gene 1b and the spike gene in both a big-brown and a long-legged bat, indicating that a CoV may be capable of infecting bats of different genera. These data suggest that ongoing evolution of CoVs in bats creates the possibility of a continued threat for emergence into hosts of other species. Alphacoronavirus RNA was detected at a high prevalence in big brown bats in roosts in close proximity to human habitations (10%) and known to have direct contact with people (19%), suggesting that significant potential opportunities exist for cross-species transmission of these viruses. Further CoV surveillance studies in bats throughout the Americas are warranted.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019156
PMCID: PMC3093381  PMID: 21589915
4.  High Diversity of Rabies Viruses Associated with Insectivorous Bats in Argentina: Presence of Several Independent Enzootics 
Background
Rabies is a fatal infection of the central nervous system primarily transmitted by rabid animal bites. Rabies virus (RABV) circulates through two different epidemiological cycles: terrestrial and aerial, where dogs, foxes or skunks and bats, respectively, act as the most relevant reservoirs and/or vectors. It is widely accepted that insectivorous bats are not important vectors of RABV in Argentina despite the great diversity of bat species and the extensive Argentinean territory.
Methods
We studied the positivity rate of RABV detection in different areas of the country, and the antigenic and genetic diversity of 99 rabies virus (RABV) strains obtained from 14 species of insectivorous bats collected in Argentina between 1991 and 2008.
Results
Based on the analysis of bats received for RABV analysis by the National Rabies system of surveillance, the positivity rate of RABV in insectivorous bats ranged from 3.1 to 5.4%, depending on the geographic location. The findings were distributed among an extensive area of the Argentinean territory. The 99 strains of insectivorous bat-related sequences were divided into six distinct lineages associated with Tadarida brasiliensis, Myotis spp, Eptesicus spp, Histiotus montanus, Lasiurus blosseviilli and Lasiurus cinereus. Comparison with RABV sequences obtained from insectivorous bats of the Americas revealed co-circulation of similar genetic variants in several countries. Finally, inter-species transmission, mostly related with Lasiurus species, was demonstrated in 11.8% of the samples.
Conclusions
This study demonstrates the presence of several independent enzootics of rabies in insectivorous bats of Argentina. This information is relevant to identify potential areas at risk for human and animal infection.
Author Summary
In Argentina, successful vaccination and control of terrestrial rabies in the 1980s revealed the importance of the aerial route in RABV transmission. Current distribution of cases shows a predominance of rabies by hematophagous bats in the Northern regions where rabies is a major public health concern; in contrast, in Central and Southern regions where rabies is not a major public health concern, little surveillance is performed. Based on the analysis of insectivorous bats received for RABV analysis by the National Rabies system of surveillance, the positivity rate of RABV in insectivorous bats in these regions ranged from 3.1 to 5.4%. This rate is comparable to other nations such as the United States (9–10%) where insectivorous bats are an important cause of concern for RABV surveillance systems. Antigenic and genetic analysis of a wide collection of rabies strains shows the presence of multiple endemic cycles associated with six bat insectivorous species distributed among an extensive area of the Argentinean territory and several countries of the Americas. Finally, inter-species transmission, mostly related with Lasiurus species, was demonstrated in 11.8% of the samples. Increased public education about the relationship between insectivorous bats and rabies are essential to avoid human cases and potential spread to terrestrial mammals.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001635
PMCID: PMC3348165  PMID: 22590657
5.  The epidemiology of bat rabies in New York State, 1988-92. 
Epidemiology and Infection  1994;113(3):501-511.
In 1993 New York and Texas each reported a human rabies case traced to a rare variant of rabies virus found in an uncommon species of bat. This study examined the epidemiology of bat rabies in New York State. Demographic, species, and animal-contact information for bats submitted for rabies testing from 1988-92 was analysed. The prevalence of rabies in 6810 bats was 4.6%. Nearly 90% of the 308 rabid bats identified to species were the common big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), which comprised 62% of all submissions. Only 25 submissions were silver-haired bats (Lasionycterus noctivagans), the species associated with the two 1993 human cases of rabies, and only two of these bats were positive. Rabies was most prevalent in female bats, in bats submitted because of human [corrected] contact, and in animals tested during September and October. These results highlight the unusual circumstances surrounding the recent human rabies cases in the United States. A species of bat rarely encountered by humans, and contributing little to the total rabies cases in bats, has been implicated in the majority of the indigenously acquired human rabies cases in the United States. The factors contributing to the transmission of this rare rabies variant remain unclear.
Images
PMCID: PMC2271321  PMID: 7995360
6.  Susceptibility and Pathogenesis of Little Brown Bats (Myotis lucifugus) to Heterologous and Homologous Rabies Viruses 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(16):9008-9015.
Rabies virus (RABV) maintenance in bats is not well understood. Big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus), and Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) are the most common bats species in the United States. These colonial bat species also have the most frequent contact with humans and domestic animals. However, the silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) RABV is associated with the majority of human rabies virus infections in the United States and Canada. This is of interest because silver-haired bats are more solitary bats with infrequent human interaction. Our goal was to determine the likelihood of a colonial bat species becoming infected with and transmitting a heterologous RABV. To ascertain the potential of heterologous RABV infection in colonial bat species, little brown bats were inoculated with a homologous RABV or one of two heterologous RABVs. Additionally, to determine if the route of exposure influenced the disease process, bats were inoculated either intramuscularly (i.m.) or subcutaneously (s.c.) with a homologous or heterologous RABV. Our results demonstrate that intramuscular inoculation results in a more rapid progression of disease onset, whereas the incubation time in bats inoculated s.c. is significantly longer. Additionally, cross protection was not consistently achieved in bats previously inoculated with a heterologous RABV following a challenge with a homologous RABV 6 months later. Finally, bats that developed rabies following s.c. inoculation were significantly more likely to shed virus in their saliva and demonstrated increased viral dissemination. In summary, bats inoculated via the s.c. route are more likely to shed virus, thus increasing the likelihood of transmission.
doi:10.1128/JVI.03554-12
PMCID: PMC3754046  PMID: 23741002
7.  Bat Rabies in Guatemala 
Rabies in bats is considered enzootic throughout the New World, but few comparative data are available for most countries in the region. As part of a larger pathogen detection program, enhanced bat rabies surveillance was conducted in Guatemala, between 2009 and 2011. A total of 672 bats of 31 species were sampled and tested for rabies. The prevalence of rabies virus (RABV) detection among all collected bats was low (0.3%). Viral antigens were detected and infectious virus was isolated from the brains of two common vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus). RABV was also isolated from oral swabs, lungs and kidneys of both bats, whereas viral RNA was detected in all of the tissues examined by hemi-nested RT-PCR except for the liver of one bat. Sequencing of the nucleoprotein gene showed that both viruses were 100% identical, whereas sequencing of the glycoprotein gene revealed one non-synonymous substitution (302T,S). The two vampire bat RABV isolates in this study were phylogenetically related to viruses associated with vampire bats in the eastern states of Mexico and El Salvador. Additionally, 7% of sera collected from 398 bats demonstrated RABV neutralizing antibody. The proportion of seropositive bats varied significantly across trophic guilds, suggestive of complex intraspecific compartmentalization of RABV perpetuation.
Author Summary
In this study we provide results of the first active and extensive surveillance effort for rabies virus (RABV) circulation among bats in Guatemala. The survey included multiple geographic areas and multiple species of bats, to assess the broader public and veterinary health risks associated with rabies in bats in Guatemala. RABV was isolated from vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) collected in two different locations in Guatemala. Sequencing of the isolates revealed a closer relationship to Mexican and Central American vampire bat isolates than to South American isolates. The detection of RABV neutralizing antibodies in 11 species, including insectivorous, frugivorous, and sanguivorous bats, demonstrates viral circulation in both hematophagous and non-hematophagous bat species in Guatemala. The presence of bat RABV in rural communities requires new strategies for public health education regarding contact with bats, improved laboratory-based surveillance of animals associated with human exposures, and novel techniques for modern rabies prevention and control. Additionally, healthcare practitioners should emphasize the collection of a detailed medical history, including questions regarding bat exposure, for patients presenting with clinical syndromes compatible with rabies or any clinically diagnosed progressive encephalitis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0003070
PMCID: PMC4117473  PMID: 25080103
8.  STUDIES ON THE PATHOGENESIS OF RABIES IN INSECTIVOROUS BATS  
Studies on the influence of environmental temperature on the pathogenesis of rabies in two species of experimentally infected Chiroptera, the Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida mexicana) and the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), provided evidence that little or no viral multiplication occurs in the inactive host during experimentally induced hibernation. When inoculated animals are wakened from hibernation by transfer to a warm room, virus previously in "cold storage" multiplies, reaching detectable levels in various tissues. Similar results were obtained with two strains of rabies virus, a canine rabies street virus which produced a fatal infection in man and a strain isolated from the pooled brown fat of naturally infected little brown bats. However, certain differences in the characteristics of these virus strains were observed. The canine rabies virus strain produced an encephalitic disease in mice and overt symptoms in bats; the bat rabies virus producing an encephalomyelitic disease in mice and infrequent symptoms in bats. The bat rabies virus had a greater predilection for brown adipose tissue than the canine strain. Results obtained with the bat rabies virus in hibernating animals indicate that after a period of latency in a dormant animal activated virus may reach the salivary gland more rapidly, with greater frequency, and attain higher concentrations than in animals which have not experienced a period of hibernation. The significance of these results as they relate to the natural history of bat rabies is discussed.
PMCID: PMC2137247  PMID: 19867178
9.  Bat Rabies in British Columbia 1971-1985 
Rabies virus was demonstrated in 99 of 1154 bats submitted from British Columbia between 1971 and 1985. Rabies was diagnosed in seven species including big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), the latter accounting for 51% of all positive cases. Colonial species represented 92.9% of all identified bats and 87.7% of all rabid cases. Most bats were submitted from the more densely populated areas of the province, and submissions and positive cases both peaked in the month of August. Daytime activity and inability to fly were the most common behaviors reported in rabid bats.
PMCID: PMC1680738  PMID: 17422945
10.  Characteristics of bat rabies in Alberta. 
Rabies in bats was monitored in Alberta from 1971 to 1978 Big brown bats replaced silver-haired bats as the species most frequently reported rabid during these years. Rabies infection was comparatively high among little brown bats in central Alberta in 1973 and has subsequently declined. Only one rabid little brown bat was discovered in southern Alberta which is populated by a different subspecies. Outbreaks of rabies in little brown and big brown bat colonies tended to be brief events. Observations of free-ranging bats with probable furious rabies suggested that bats do not generally identify humans as targets for attack. Independent trends in infection rates suggested that spread of rabies is primarily intraspecific but there is evidence that migratory bats play a role in introduction and maintenance of rabies in northern temperate bat communities. The dynamics of bat rabies in Alberta are discussed.
PMCID: PMC1320036  PMID: 7397600
11.  Intravenous Inoculation of a Bat-Associated Rabies Virus Causes Lethal Encephalopathy in Mice through Invasion of the Brain via Neurosecretory Hypothalamic Fibers 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(6):e1000485.
The majority of rabies virus (RV) infections are caused by bites or scratches from rabid carnivores or bats. Usually, RV utilizes the retrograde transport within the neuronal network to spread from the infection site to the central nervous system (CNS) where it replicates in neuronal somata and infects other neurons via trans-synaptic spread. We speculate that in addition to the neuronal transport of the virus, hematogenous spread from the site of infection directly to the brain after accidental spill over into the vascular system might represent an alternative way for RV to invade the CNS. So far, it is unknown whether hematogenous spread has any relevance in RV pathogenesis. To determine whether certain RV variants might have the capacity to invade the CNS from the periphery via hematogenous spread, we infected mice either intramuscularly (i.m.) or intravenously (i.v.) with the dog-associated RV DOG4 or the silver-haired bat-associated RV SB. In addition to monitoring the progression of clinical signs of rabies we used immunohistochemistry and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) to follow the spread of the virus from the infection site to the brain. In contrast to i.m. infection where both variants caused a lethal encephalopathy, only i.v. infection with SB resulted in the development of a lethal infection. While qRT-PCR did not reveal major differences in virus loads in spinal cord or brain at different times after i.m. or i.v. infection of SB, immunohistochemical analysis showed that only i.v. administered SB directly infected the forebrain. The earliest affected regions were those hypothalamic nuclei, which are connected by neurosecretory fibers to the circumventricular organs neurohypophysis and median eminence. Our data suggest that hematogenous spread of SB can lead to a fatal encephalopathy through direct retrograde invasion of the CNS at the neurovascular interface of the hypothalamus-hypophysis system. This alternative mode of virus spread has implications for the post exposure prophylaxis of rabies, particularly with silver-haired bat-associated RV.
Author Summary
Rabies virus (RV) infects mammalian neurons and cycles in regionally distinct animal populations such as the red fox in Europe, domestic canines in Asia, or raccoons, skunks and bats in Northern America. Although human rabies can be prevented by pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, more than 50,000 people die annually from the severe encephalopathy caused by RV. Recently, two cases of RV transmission by organ transplantation were reported. In our study, using intravenous inoculation of mice, we evaluated the pathogenetic relevance of virions that reach the bloodstream. Mice inoculated intravenously with a canine-derived RV survived the infection in contrast to intramuscularly injected mice, while mice infected with a silver-haired bat-related RV succumbed to the disease regardless of the route of inoculation. We found that the silver-haired bat-related RV was able to transit from the blood to the brain by invading neurosecretory fibers of the hypothalamus, which form neurohemal synapses lacking a blood-brain-barrier. This newly described route of brain invasion might reflect how RV reached the central nervous system from transplanted organs, since it takes longer to establish the neural connections between host and grafted tissue necessary for classical RV migration than the time until the infection became symptomatic in the two reported cases.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000485
PMCID: PMC2691950  PMID: 19543379
12.  Rabies-Related Knowledge and Practices Among Persons At Risk of Bat Exposures in Thailand 
Background
Rabies is a fatal encephalitis caused by lyssaviruses. Evidence of lyssavirus circulation has recently emerged in Southeast Asian bats. A cross-sectional study was conducted in Thailand to assess rabies-related knowledge and practices among persons regularly exposed to bats and bat habitats. The objectives were to identify deficiencies in rabies awareness, describe the occurrence of bat exposures, and explore factors associated with transdermal bat exposures.
Methods
A survey was administered to a convenience sample of adult guano miners, bat hunters, game wardens, and residents/personnel at Buddhist temples where mass bat roosting occurs. The questionnaire elicited information on demographics, experience with bat exposures, and rabies knowledge. Participants were also asked to describe actions they would take in response to a bat bite as well as actions for a bite from a potentially rabid animal. Bivariate analysis was used to compare responses between groups and multivariable logistic regression was used to explore factors independently associated with being bitten or scratched by a bat.
Findings
Of 106 people interviewed, 11 (10%) identified bats as a potential source of rabies. A history of a bat bite or scratch was reported by 29 (27%), and 38 (36%) stated either that they would do nothing or that they did not know what they would do in response to a bat bite. Guano miners were less likely than other groups to indicate animal bites as a mechanism of rabies transmission (68% vs. 90%, p = 0.03) and were less likely to say they would respond appropriately to a bat bite or scratch (61% vs. 27%, p = 0.003). Guano mining, bat hunting, and being in a bat cave or roost area more than 5 times a year were associated with history of a bat bite or scratch.
Conclusions
These findings indicate the need for educational outreach to raise awareness of bat rabies, promote exposure prevention, and ensure appropriate health-seeking behaviors for bat-inflicted wounds, particularly among at-risk groups in Thailand.
Author Summary
Rabies is a fatal encephalitis caused by lyssaviruses. Evidence of lyssavirus circulation has recently emerged in Southeast Asian bats. We surveyed persons regularly exposed to bats and bat habitats in Thailand to assess rabies‐related knowledge and practices. Targeted groups included guano miners, bat hunters, game wardens, and residents/personnel at Buddhist temples where mass bat roosting occurs. Of the 106 people interviewed, 11 (10%) identified bats as a source of rabies. History of a bat bite/scratch was reported by 29 (27%), and 38 (36%) expressed either that they would do nothing or that they did not know what they would do in response to a bat bite. Guano miners were less likely than other groups to indicate animal bites as a mechanism of transmission (68% vs. 90%, p=0.03) and were less likely to say they would respond appropriately to a bat bite or scratch (61% vs. 27%, p=0.003). These findings indicate a need for educational outreach in Thailand to raise awareness of bat rabies, promote exposure prevention, and ensure health‐seeking behaviors for bat‐inflicted wounds, particularly among at‐risk groups.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001054
PMCID: PMC3125144  PMID: 21738801
13.  Bat Rabies in Alberta 1979-1982 
The infection rate among eight species of bats submitted for rabies diagnosis in Alberta during 1979-82 was 4.6%. Prevalence of rabies was greatest (24%) for hoary bats Lasiurus cinereus, while the big brown bat Eptesicus fuscus was the species in which rabies was most commonly diagnosed, and the species submitted most frequently for rabies diagnosis was the little brown bat Myotis lucifugus. The rabies infection rate among male hoary bats was significantly greater than in either sex of all other submitted species. The frequency of rabies diagnosis in hoary bats submitted during 1979-82 was also significantly higher than in those submitted between 1971 and 1978. There has been a significant decrease in the rabies prevalence or infection rate of little brown bats since 1971-78.
PMCID: PMC1680073  PMID: 17422507
Bats; infection rate; rabies
14.  Bat Rabies in France: A 24-Year Retrospective Epidemiological Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98622.
Since bat rabies surveillance was first implemented in France in 1989, 48 autochthonous rabies cases without human contamination have been reported using routine diagnosis methods. In this retrospective study, data on bats submitted for rabies testing were analysed in order to better understand the epidemiology of EBLV-1 in bats in France and to investigate some epidemiological trends. Of the 3176 bats submitted for rabies diagnosis from 1989 to 2013, 1.96% (48/2447 analysed) were diagnosed positive. Among the twelve recognised virus species within the Lyssavirus genus, two species were isolated in France. 47 positive bats were morphologically identified as Eptesicus serotinus and were shown to be infected by both the EBLV-1a and the EBLV-1b lineages. Isolation of BBLV in Myotis nattereri was reported once in the north-east of France in 2012. The phylogenetic characterisation of all 47 French EBLV-1 isolates sampled between 1989 and 2013 and the French BBLV sample against 21 referenced partial nucleoprotein sequences confirmed the low genetic diversity of EBLV-1 despite its extensive geographical range. Statistical analysis performed on the serotine bat data collected from 1989 to 2013 showed seasonal variation of rabies occurrence with a significantly higher proportion of positive samples detected during the autumn compared to the spring and the summer period (34% of positive bats detected in autumn, 15% in summer, 13% in spring and 12% in winter). In this study, we have provided the details of the geographical distribution of EBLV-1a in the south-west of France and the north-south division of EBLV-1b with its subdivisions into three phylogenetic groups: group B1 in the north-west, group B2 in the centre and group B3 in the north-east of France.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098622
PMCID: PMC4044004  PMID: 24892287
15.  Molecular Inferences Suggest Multiple Host Shifts of Rabies Viruses from Bats to Mesocarnivores in Arizona during 2001–2009 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(6):e1002786.
In nature, rabies virus (RABV; genus Lyssavirus, family Rhabdoviridae) represents an assemblage of phylogenetic lineages, associated with specific mammalian host species. Although it is generally accepted that RABV evolved originally in bats and further shifted to carnivores, mechanisms of such host shifts are poorly understood, and examples are rarely present in surveillance data. Outbreaks in carnivores caused by a RABV variant, associated with big brown bats, occurred repeatedly during 2001–2009 in the Flagstaff area of Arizona. After each outbreak, extensive control campaigns were undertaken, with no reports of further rabies cases in carnivores for the next several years. However, questions remained whether all outbreaks were caused by a single introduction and further perpetuation of bat RABV in carnivore populations, or each outbreak was caused by an independent introduction of a bat virus. Another question of concern was related to adaptive changes in the RABV genome associated with host shifts. To address these questions, we sequenced and analyzed 66 complete and 20 nearly complete RABV genomes, including those from the Flagstaff area and other similar outbreaks in carnivores, caused by bat RABVs, and representatives of the major RABV lineages circulating in North America and worldwide. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that each Flagstaff outbreak was caused by an independent introduction of bat RABV into populations of carnivores. Positive selection analysis confirmed the absence of post-shift changes in RABV genes. In contrast, convergent evolution analysis demonstrated several amino acids in the N, P, G and L proteins, which might be significant for pre-adaptation of bat viruses to cause effective infection in carnivores. The substitution S/T242 in the viral glycoprotein is of particular merit, as a similar substitution was suggested for pathogenicity of Nishigahara RABV strain. Roles of the amino acid changes, detected in our study, require additional investigations, using reverse genetics and other approaches.
Author Summary
Host shifts of the rabies virus (RABV) from bats to carnivores are important for our understanding of viral evolution and emergence, and have significant public health implications, particularly for the areas where “terrestrial” rabies has been eliminated. In this study we addressed several rabies outbreaks in carnivores that occurred in the Flagstaff area of Arizona during 2001–2009, and caused by the RABV variant associated with big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Based on phylogenetic analysis we demonstrated that each outbreak resulted from a separate introduction of bat RABV into populations of carnivores. No post-shift changes in viral genomes were detected under the positive selection analysis. Trying to answer the question why certain bat RABV variants are capable for host shifts to carnivores and other variants are not, we developed a convergent evolution analysis, and implemented it for multiple RABV lineages circulating worldwide. This analysis identified several amino acids in RABV proteins which may facilitate host shifts from bats to carnivores. Precise roles of these amino acids require additional investigations, using reverse genetics and animal experimentation. In general, our approach and the results obtained can be used for prediction of host shifts and emergence of other zoonotic pathogens.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002786
PMCID: PMC3380930  PMID: 22737076
16.  Large Roads Reduce Bat Activity across Multiple Species 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96341.
Although the negative impacts of roads on many terrestrial vertebrate and bird populations are well documented, there have been few studies of the road ecology of bats. To examine the effects of large roads on bat populations, we used acoustic recorders to survey bat activity along ten 300 m transects bordering three large highways in northern California, applying a newly developed statistical classifier to identify recorded calls to the species level. Nightly counts of bat passes were analyzed with generalized linear mixed models to determine the relationship between bat activity and distance from a road. Total bat activity recorded at points adjacent to roads was found to be approximately one-half the level observed at 300 m. Statistically significant road effects were also found for the Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis), big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus), and silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans). The road effect was found to be temperature dependent, with hot days both increasing total activity at night and reducing the difference between activity levels near and far from roads. These results suggest that the environmental impacts of road construction may include degradation of bat habitat and that mitigation activities for this habitat loss may be necessary to protect bat populations.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096341
PMCID: PMC4019470  PMID: 24823689
17.  Host immunity to repeated rabies virus infection in big brown bats 
The Journal of General Virology  2010;91(Pt 9):2360-2366.
Bats are natural reservoirs for the majority of lyssaviruses globally, and are unique among mammals in having exceptional sociality and longevity. Given these facets, and the recognized status of bats as reservoirs for rabies viruses (RABVs) in the Americas, individual bats may experience repeated exposure to RABV during their lifetime. Nevertheless, little information exists with regard to within-host infection dynamics and the role of immunological memory that may result from abortive RABV infection in bats. In this study, a cohort of big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) was infected intramuscularly in the left and right masseter muscles with varying doses [10−0.1–104.9 median mouse intracerebral lethal doses (MICLD50)] of an E. fuscus RABV variant isolated from a naturally infected big brown bat. Surviving bats were infected a second time at 175 days post-(primary) infection with a dose (103.9–104.9 MICLD50) of the same RABV variant. Surviving bats were infected a third time at either 175 or 305 days post-(secondary) infection with a dose (104.9 MICLD50) of the same RABV variant. When correcting for dose, similar mortality was observed following primary and secondary infection, but reduced mortality was observed following the third and last RABV challenge, despite infection with a high viral dose. Inducible RABV-neutralizing antibody titres post-infection were ephemeral among infected individuals, and dropped below levels of detection in several bats between subsequent infections. These results suggest that long-term repeated infection of bats may confer significant immunological memory and reduced susceptibility to RABV infection.
doi:10.1099/vir.0.020073-0
PMCID: PMC3052523  PMID: 20519458
18.  The Great Roundleaf Bat (Hipposideros armiger) as a Good Model for Cold-Induced Browning of Intra-Abdominal White Adipose Tissue 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112495.
Background
Inducing beige fat from white adipose tissue (WAT) is considered to be a shortcut to weight loss and increasingly becoming a key area in research into treatments for obesity and related diseases. However, currently, animal models of beige fat are restricted to rodents, where subcutaneous adipose tissue (sWAT, benign WAT) is more liable to develop into the beige fat under specific activators than the intra-abdominal adipose tissue (aWAT, malignant WAT) that is the major source of obesity related diseases in humans.
Methods
Here we induced beige fat by cold exposure in two species of bats, the great roundleaf bat (Hipposideros armiger) and the rickett's big-footed bat (Myotis ricketti), and compared the molecular and morphological changes with those seen in the mouse. Expression of thermogenic genes (Ucp1 and Pgc1a) was measured by RT-qPCR and adipocyte morphology examined by HE staining at three adipose locations, sWAT, aWAT and iBAT (interscapular brown adipose tissue).
Results
Expression of Ucp1 and Pgc1a was significantly upregulated, by 729 and 23 fold, respectively, in aWAT of the great roundleaf bat after exposure to 10°C for 7 days. Adipocyte diameters of WATs became significantly reduced and the white adipocytes became brown-like in morphology. In mice, similar changes were found in the sWAT, but much lower amounts of changes in aWAT were seen. Interestingly, the rickett's big-footed bat did not show such a tendency in beige fat.
Conclusions
The great roundleaf bat is potentially a good animal model for human aWAT browning research. Combined with rodent models, this model should be helpful for finding therapies for reducing harmful aWAT in humans.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112495
PMCID: PMC4231071  PMID: 25393240
19.  Variability in Seroprevalence of Rabies Virus Neutralizing Antibodies and Associated Factors in a Colorado Population of Big Brown Bats (Eptesicus fuscus) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86261.
In 2001–2005 we sampled permanently marked big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) at summer roosts in buildings at Fort Collins, Colorado, for rabies virus neutralizing antibodies (RVNA). Seroprevalence was higher in adult females (17.9%, n = 2,332) than males (9.4%, n = 128; P = 0.007) or volant juveniles (10.2%, n = 738; P<0.0001). Seroprevalence was lowest in a drought year with local insecticide use and highest in the year with normal conditions, suggesting that environmental stress may suppress RVNA production in big brown bats. Seroprevalence also increased with age of bat, and varied from 6.2 to 26.7% among adult females at five roosts sampled each year for five years. Seroprevalence of adult females at 17 other roosts sampled for 1 to 4 years ranged from 0.0 to 47.1%. Using logistic regression, the only ranking model in our candidate set of explanatory variables for serological status at first sampling included year, day of season, and a year by day of season interaction that varied with relative drought conditions. The presence or absence of antibodies in individual bats showed temporal variability. Year alone provided the best model to explain the likelihood of adult female bats showing a transition to seronegative from a previously seropositive state. Day of the season was the only competitive model to explain the likelihood of a transition from seronegative to seropositive, which increased as the season progressed. We found no rabies viral RNA in oropharyngeal secretions of 261 seropositive bats or in organs of 13 euthanized seropositive bats. Survival of seropositive and seronegative bats did not differ. The presence of RVNA in serum of bats should not be interpreted as evidence for ongoing rabies infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086261
PMCID: PMC3899234  PMID: 24465996
20.  Metagenomic Analysis of the Viromes of Three North American Bat Species: Viral Diversity among Different Bat Species That Share a Common Habitat▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(24):13004-13018.
Effective prediction of future viral zoonoses requires an in-depth understanding of the heterologous viral population in key animal species that will likely serve as reservoir hosts or intermediates during the next viral epidemic. The importance of bats as natural hosts for several important viral zoonoses, including Ebola, Marburg, Nipah, Hendra, and rabies viruses and severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus (SARS-CoV), has been established; however, the large viral population diversity (virome) of bats has been partially determined for only a few of the ∼1,200 bat species. To assess the virome of North American bats, we collected fecal, oral, urine, and tissue samples from individual bats captured at an abandoned railroad tunnel in Maryland that is cohabitated by 7 to 10 different bat species. Here, we present preliminary characterization of the virome of three common North American bat species, including big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), and little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus). In samples derived from these bats, we identified viral sequences that were similar to at least three novel group 1 CoVs, large numbers of insect and plant virus sequences, and nearly full-length genomic sequences of two novel bacteriophages. These observations suggest that bats encounter and disseminate a large assortment of viruses capable of infecting many different animals, insects, and plants in nature.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01255-10
PMCID: PMC3004358  PMID: 20926577
21.  Bat Rabies in Ontario 
Rabies has been diagnosed for the first time in the bat population of Ontario. In the course of a study involving 72 bats from 24 counties of the province, five big brown bats (E. fuscus) were found to be infected with rabies through the mouse inoculation test. At the present time, it does not look as if bats have been connected with the epizootic of sylvatic rabies in Ontario.
La rage est apparue pour la première fois chez les chauves-souris en Ontario. Au cours d'une étude qui a porté sur 72 de ces animaux provenant de 24 comtés de la province, l'inoculation d'animaux de laboratoire a permis confirmer la présence de la maladie chez cinq grosses chauves-souris brunes (E. fuscus). A date, il ne semble toutefois pas que les chauves-souris soient impliquées dans l'épizootie de rage sylvatique qui sévit en Orntario.
PMCID: PMC1494224  PMID: 17649490
22.  Bat rabies surveillance in Finland 
Background
In 1985, a bat researcher in Finland died of rabies encephalitis caused by European bat lyssavirus type 2 (EBLV-2), but an epidemiological study in 1986 did not reveal EBLV-infected bats. In 2009, an EBLV-2-positive Daubenton’s bat was detected. The EBLV-2 isolate from the human case in 1985 and the isolate from the bat in 2009 were genetically closely related. In order to assess the prevalence of EBLVs in Finnish bat populations and to gain a better understanding of the public health risk that EBLV-infected bats pose, a targeted active surveillance project was initiated.
Results
Altogether, 1156 bats of seven species were examined for lyssaviruses in Finland during a 28–year period (1985–2012), 898 in active surveillance and 258 in passive surveillance, with only one positive finding of EBLV-2 in a Daubenton’s bat in 2009. In 2010–2011, saliva samples from 774 bats of seven species were analyzed for EBLV viral RNA, and sera from 423 bats were analyzed for the presence of bat lyssavirus antibodies. Antibodies were detected in Daubenton’s bats in samples collected from two locations in 2010 and from one location in 2011. All seropositive locations are in close proximity to the place where the EBLV-2 positive Daubenton’s bat was found in 2009. In active surveillance, no EBLV viral RNA was detected.
Conclusions
These data suggest that EBLV-2 may circulate in Finland, even though the seroprevalence is low. Our results indicate that passive surveillance of dead or sick bats is a relevant means examine the occurrence of lyssavirus infection, but the number of bats submitted for laboratory analysis should be higher in order to obtain reliable information on the lyssavirus situation in the country.
doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-174
PMCID: PMC3846527  PMID: 24011337
EBLV; Lyssavirus; Rabies; Seroprevalence
23.  15O PET Measurement of Blood Flow and Oxygen Consumption in Cold-Activated Human Brown Fat 
Although it has been believed that brown adipose tissue (BAT) depots disappear shortly after the perinatal period in humans, PET imaging using the glucose analog 18F-FDG has shown unequivocally the existence of functional BAT in adult humans, suggesting that many humans retain some functional BAT past infancy. The objective of this study was to determine to what extent BAT thermogenesis is activated in adults during cold stress and to establish the relationship between BAT oxidative metabolism and 18F-FDG tracer uptake.
Methods
Twenty-five healthy adults (15 women and 10 men; mean age ± SD, 30 ± 7 y) underwent triple-oxygen scans (H215O, C15O, and 15O2) as well as measurements of daily energy expenditure (DEE; kcal/d) both at rest and after exposure to mild cold (15.5°C [60°F]) using indirect calorimetry. The subjects were divided into 2 groups (high BAT and low BAT) based on the presence or absence of 18F-FDG tracer uptake (standardized uptake value [SUV] > 2) in cervical–supraclavicular BAT. Blood flow and oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) were calculated from dynamic PET scans at the location of BAT, muscle, and white adipose tissue. Regional blood oxygen saturation was determined by near-infrared spectroscopy. The total energy expenditure during rest and mild cold stress was measured by indirect calorimetry. Tissue-level metabolic rate of oxygen (MRO2) in BAT was determined and used to calculate the contribution of activated BAT to DEE.
Results
The mass of activated BAT was 59.1 ± 17.5 g (range, 32–85 g) in the high-BAT group (8 women and 1 man; mean age, 29.6 ± 5.5 y) and 2.2 ± 3.6 g (range, 0–9.3 g) in the low-BAT group (9 men and 7 women; mean age, 31.4 ± 10 y). Corresponding maximal SUVs were significantly higher in the high-BAT group than in the low-BAT group (10.7 ± 3.9 vs. 2.1 ± 0.7, P = 0.01). Blood flow values were significantly higher in the high-BAT group than in the low-BAT group for BAT (12.9 ± 4.1 vs. 5.9 ± 2.2 mL/100 g/min, P = 0.03) and white adipose tissue (7.2 ± 3.4 vs. 5.7 ± 2.3 mL/100 g/min, P = 0.03) but were similar for muscle (4.4 ± 1.9 vs. 3.9 ± 1.7 mL/100 g/min). Moreover, OEF in BAT was similar in the 2 groups (0.51 ± 0.17 in high-BAT group vs. 0.47 ± 0.18 in low-BAT group, P = 0.39). During mild cold stress, calculated MRO2 values in BAT increased from 0.97 ± 0.53 to 1.42 ± 0.68 mL/100 g/min (P = 0.04) in the high-BAT group and were significantly higher than those determined in the low-BAT group (0.40 ± 0.28 vs. 0.51 ± 0.23, P = 0.67). The increase in DEE associated with BAT oxidative metabolism was highly variable in the high-BAT group, with an average of 3.2 ± 2.4 kcal/d (range, 1.9–4.6 kcal/d) at rest, and increased to 6.3 ± 3.5 kcal/d (range, 4.0–9.9 kcal/d) during exposure to mild cold. Although BAT accounted for only a small fraction of the cold-induced increase in DEE, such increases were not observed in subjects lacking BAT.
Conclusion
Mild cold-induced thermogenesis in BAT accounts for 15–25 kcal/d in subjects with relatively large BAT depots. Thus, although the presence of active BAT is correlated with cold-induced energy expenditure, direct measurement of MRO2 indicates that BAT is a minor source of thermogenesis in humans.
doi:10.2967/jnumed.112.111336
PMCID: PMC3883579  PMID: 23362317
brown fat thermogenesis; BAT oxidative metabolism; 15O PET imaging
24.  Diagnosis and analysis of a recent case of human rabies in Canada 
BACKGROUND:
On September 30, 2000, staff at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's Centre of Expertise for Rabies, located at the Animal Diseases Research Institute in Ottawa, Ontario, diagnosed rabies in a child from Quebec. This was the first case of rabies in a human in Canada in 15 years and in 36 years in the province of Quebec. After spending a week in intensive care in a Montreal hospital, the nine-year-old boy succumbed to this nearly always fatal disease. The boy had been exposed to a bat in late August 2000, while vacationing with his family in the Quebec countryside.
METHODS:
Antemortem specimens taken from the patient were sent to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency laboratory for rabies diagnosis. Samples included saliva, eye secretions, corneal impressions, cerebral spinal fluid and skin. Specimens were examined by direct immunofluorescence microscopy, and results were confirmed using molecular biological techniques. Virus strain identification was performed by both genetic methods and phenotypic analysis with monoclonal antibodies.
RESULTS:
Initial results from direct immunofluorescence staining indicated that rabies virus was present in the skin biopsy specimen but not in the corneal impressions. This diagnosis of rabies was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction product analysis from several of the submitted specimens. Virus isolation from postmortem samples was not possible because fresh brain tissue was not available. Rabies virus was isolated from saliva and was determined to be similar to a variant that circulates in populations of silver-haired bats.
INTERPRETATION:
Intravitam diagnosis of rabies in humans is very dependent on the samples submitted for diagnosis and the method used for testing. Upon first examination, only skin specimens were positive for rabies virus antigen; using polymerase chain reaction analysis, only saliva yielded positive results for rabies virus genome. Extensive testing and retesting of specimens submitted for rabies diagnosis in humans must be done to avoid false negative results.
PMCID: PMC2094860  PMID: 18159382
Bat rabies; Rabies
25.  Assessment of Oxidative Metabolism in Brown Fat Using PET Imaging 
Objective: Although it has been believed that brown adipose tissue (BAT) depots disappear shortly after the perinatal period in humans, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging using the glucose analog 18F-deoxy-d-glucose (FDG) has shown unequivocally the existence of functional BAT in humans, suggesting that most humans have some functional BAT. The objective of this study was to determine, using dynamic oxygen-15 (15O) PET imaging, to what extent BAT thermogenesis is activated in adults during cold stress and to establish the relationship between BAT oxidative metabolism and FDG tracer uptake. Methods: Fourteen adult normal subjects (9F/5M, 30 ± 7 years) underwent triple oxygen scans (H215O, C15O, 15O2) as well as indirect calorimetric measurements at both rest and following exposure to mild cold (16°C). Subjects were divided into two groups (BAT+ and BAT−) based on the presence or absence of FDG tracer uptake (SUV > 2) in cervical–supraclavicular BAT. Blood flow and oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) was calculated from dynamic PET scans at the location of BAT, muscle, and white adipose tissue (WAT). The metabolic rate of oxygen (MRO2) in BAT was determined and used to calculate the contribution of activated BAT to daily energy expenditure (DEE). Results: The median mass of activated BAT in the BAT+ group (5F, age 31 ± 8) was 52.4 g (range 14–68 g) and was 1.7 g (range 0–6.3 g) in the BAT − group (5M/4F, age 29 ± 6). Corresponding SUV values were significantly higher in the BAT+ as compared to the BAT− group (7.4 ± 3.7 vs. 1.9 ± 0.9; p = 0.03). Blood flow values in BAT were significantly higher in the BAT+ group as compared to the BAT− group (13.1 ± 4.4 vs. 5.7 ± 1.1 ml/100 g/min, p = 0.03), but were similar in WAT (4.1 ± 1.6 vs. 4.2 ± 1.8 ml/100 g/min) and muscle (3.7 ± 0.8 vs. 3.3 ± 1.2 ml/100 g/min). Moreover, OEF in BAT was similar in the two groups (0.56 ± 0.18 in BAT+ vs. 0.46 ± 0.19 in BAT−, p = 0.39). Calculated MRO2 values in BAT increased from 0.95 ± 0.74 to 1.62 ± 0.82 ml/100 g/min in the BAT+ group and were significantly higher than those determined in the BAT− group (0.43 ± 0.27 vs. 0.56 ± 0.24, p = 0.67). The DEE associated with BAT oxidative metabolism was highly variable in the BAT+ group, with an average of 5.5 ± 6.4 kcal/day (range 0.57–15.3 kcal/day). Conclusion: BAT thermogenesis in humans accounts for less than 20 kcal/day during moderate cold stress, even in subjects with relatively large BAT depots. Furthermore, due to the large differences in blood flow and glucose metabolic rates in BAT between humans and rodents, the application of rodent data to humans is problematic and needs careful evaluation.
doi:10.3389/fendo.2012.00015
PMCID: PMC3355936  PMID: 22649408
brown fat thermogenesis; oxidative metabolism; 15O PET imaging

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