By Bob Yirka
A team of biologists at the University of Glasgow, working with colleagues from several institutes in Perú, has found that culling bat colonies after a rabies outbreak in livestock is not an effective way to halt the spread of the disease. In their study, published in the journal Science Advances, the group studied infection rates and conducted viral genome sequencing to better understand rabies transmission in bats to livestock.
Historically, vampiricides have been used in two ways, either before or during outbreaks. Neither approach has been rigorously tested for effectiveness. In this new effort, the researchers sought to determine whether culling bat colonies via vampiricides is an effective means of combating rabies outbreaks.
The work involved first studying infection rates for several cattle herds in Perú. They then conducted genome sequencing of rabies viruses collected from infected cows in the area. Both studies were conducted over a two-year period.
The research team suggests that applying vampiricides after an outbreak has begun leads the bats to abandon their colony and spread out across the local area looking for new places to live. In so doing, they reduce the spread of the disease among the bats, but increase rates in cattle, as lone infected bats infect many cows before dying themselves.Click here to see more...