Let’s read why do bats, living close to human settlements, carry so many viruses that can cause diseases
Loss of habitats has forced bats to live in close contact with humans, increasing chances of people getting infected with. Let’s read why do bats, living close to human settlements, carry so many viruses that can cause diseases
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera. With their forelimbs adapted as wings, they are the only mammals capable of true and sustained flight. There are over 1,300 species of bats, which make up over one-fifth of all mammal species on Earth.
Bats can eat its own body weight in insects in one night, keeping crops safe. These mammals are found on all continents of the world, except in Antarctica.
Bats are critical for the survival of several ecosystems — in dispersing seeds, pollinating rare flowers or eating large quantities of insects.
Bats are one of the biggest reservoirs of viruses, many of which can cause severe human diseases. Because of close contact between bats and humans, a high possibility exists for transmission of bat-borne viruses to people.
Habitat loss has also led to large-scale economic impact and structural damages to forest ecosystems. It has forced bats to inhabit places with dense human population, increasing the risks of transmitting novel viruses.
Bats also come under attack by cats, chemical residues, emissions and other effects of urbanisation. Their habitats are being threatened due to developmental and construction activities.
• Viruses that come from bats have caused some of the most notorious diseases
• A recent study found that 334 viruses have crossed from bats to humans
• Many such viruses reach us via an intermediary species
• Close-knit community: Bats roost close to each other making it easier to pass viruses along
• Strong flyers: The vigorous activity of flying is thought to trigger physiological mechanisms to protect from inflammation and strengthen their immune system
• Immunity arms race: Their very eff¬ective immune system allows them to live with viruses, and may drive those viruses to become stronger
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