Exploring and mitigating the threat of Lloviu virus re-emergence in Central European Miniopterus schreibersii populations, 2019

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In the frame of the project conducted by the Nature Conservation Foundation of Tolna County, Schreiber’s bats’ roosts were visited and surveyed in six Central European and Balkan countries. These surveys included colony counting and the analysis of threatening factors, as well as tissue sampling for population genetic study of the species.

Deaths as the result of Lloviu-virus infection occurred also after the submission of the proposal to EUROBATS. Fortunately, only few dead bats were found in this further case. Our collaborative virology team managed to find the virus on-site with molecular methods and samples from several infected individuals allowed isolation probes of the virus. The virus is endemic in one Hungarian site and continuously threatens the population.

The genetic results show that there is almost no structuring between the different Schreiber’s bat colonies included into the analysis. This indicates that there is gene-flow between different geographic areas, which is not surprising as the species can cover long distances during migration. According to the virological results, bats which seem to be healthy can also be infected with the virus, hence they may transport the disease between colonies. This result is alarming as the species is threatened by several different factors throughout its distribution.

The project report available as PDF  

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