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Review

Global Epidemiology of Bat Coronaviruses

by 1, 1, 1,2,3,4,5,* and 1,2,3,4,5,*
1
Department of Microbiology, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
2
State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
3
Research Centre of Infection and Immunology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
4
Carol Yu Centre for Infection, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
5
Collaborative Innovation Centre for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2019, 11(2), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/v11020174
Received: 9 January 2019 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses and Bats 2019)
Bats are a unique group of mammals of the order Chiroptera. They are highly diversified and are the group of mammals with the second largest number of species. Such highly diversified cell types and receptors facilitate them to be potential hosts of a large variety of viruses. Bats are the only group of mammals capable of sustained flight, which enables them to disseminate the viruses they harbor and enhance the chance of interspecies transmission. This article aims at reviewing the various aspects of the global epidemiology of bat coronaviruses (CoVs). Before the SARS epidemic, bats were not known to be hosts for CoVs. In the last 15 years, bats have been found to be hosts of >30 CoVs with complete genomes sequenced, and many more if those without genome sequences are included. Among the four CoV genera, only alphaCoVs and betaCoVs have been found in bats. As a whole, both alphaCoVs and betaCoVs have been detected from bats in Asia, Europe, Africa, North and South America and Australasia; but alphaCoVs seem to be more widespread than betaCoVs, and their detection rate is also higher. For betaCoVs, only those from subgenera Sarbecovirus, Merbecovirus, Nobecovirus and Hibecovirus have been detected in bats. Most notably, horseshoe bats are the reservoir of SARS-CoV, and several betaCoVs from subgenus Merbecovirus are closely related to MERS-CoV. In addition to the interactions among various bat species themselves, bat–animal and bat–human interactions, such as the presence of live bats in wildlife wet markets and restaurants in Southern China, are important for interspecies transmission of CoVs and may lead to devastating global outbreaks. View Full-Text
Keywords: global; epidemiology; bat; coronavirus; Alphacoronavirus; Betacoronavirus; interspecies transmission; host global; epidemiology; bat; coronavirus; Alphacoronavirus; Betacoronavirus; interspecies transmission; host
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wong, A.C.P.; Li, X.; Lau, S.K.P.; Woo, P.C.Y. Global Epidemiology of Bat Coronaviruses. Viruses 2019, 11, 174. https://doi.org/10.3390/v11020174

AMA Style

Wong ACP, Li X, Lau SKP, Woo PCY. Global Epidemiology of Bat Coronaviruses. Viruses. 2019; 11(2):174. https://doi.org/10.3390/v11020174

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wong, Antonio C.P., Xin Li, Susanna K.P. Lau, and Patrick C.Y. Woo. 2019. "Global Epidemiology of Bat Coronaviruses" Viruses 11, no. 2: 174. https://doi.org/10.3390/v11020174

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