The Ghost in the Flying Machine: Tracking Elusive Viruses in Fruit Bats

Thursday, September 21, 2023 - 9:00am

One Health Seminar presented by Dr. Olivier Restif, Associate Professor in Epidemiology, Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Cambridge

Following the zoonotic emergence of Hendra and Nipah viruses in the late 1990s, there has been growing surveillance and research effort on paramyxoviruses in fruit bats (family Pteropodidae). Surprisingly, no spillover events have been recorded in Africa, even though all the conditions appear to be met for people to be exposed to henipaviruses from bats. In this talk, I will give an overview of the research we have been carrying out in Ghana for the last 15 years, monitoring infection in wild and captive straw-coloured fruit bats (Eidolon helvum). More recently, this work has complemented research on Hendra virus in Australia and Nipah virus in Bangladesh as part of the Bat One Health consortium.