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Journal Articles Royal Society Open Science Year : 2022

Seasonality of coronavirus shedding in tropical bats

Abstract

Anticipating cross-species transmission of zoonotic diseases requires an understanding of pathogen infection dynamics within natural reservoir hosts. Although bats might be a source of coronaviruses (CoVs) for humans, the drivers of infection dynamics in bat populations have received limited attention. We conducted a fine-scale 2-year longitudinal study of CoV infection dynamics in the largest colony of Reunion free-tailed bats (Mormopterus francoismoutoui), a tropical insectivorous species. Real-time PCR screening of 1080 fresh individual faeces samples collected during the two consecutive years revealed an extreme variation of the detection rate of bats shedding viruses over the birthing season (from 0% to 80%). Shedding pulses were repeatedly observed and occurred both during late pregnancy and within two months after parturition. An additional shedding pulse at the end of the second year suggests some inter-annual variations. We also detected viral RNA in bat guano up to three months after bats had left the cave. Our results highlight the importance of finescale longitudinal studies to capture the rapid change of bat CoV infection over months, and that CoV shedding pulses in bats may increase spillover risk.
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hal-04105069 , version 1 (24-05-2023)

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Léa Joffrin, Axel O G Hoarau, Erwan Lagadec, Olalla Torrontegi, Marie Köster, et al.. Seasonality of coronavirus shedding in tropical bats. Royal Society Open Science, 2022, 9 (2), ⟨10.1098/rsos.211600⟩. ⟨hal-04105069⟩
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