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Article

The Ecology of Nipah Virus in Bangladesh: A Nexus of Land-Use Change and Opportunistic Feeding Behavior in Bats

1
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
2
Infectious Diseases Division, icddr,b, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh
3
Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine Division, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
4
Department of Genetics, Cambridge University, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
5
Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16801, USA
6
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jens H. Kuhn
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020169
Received: 10 December 2020 / Revised: 13 January 2021 / Accepted: 21 January 2021 / Published: 23 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Henipaviruses)
Nipah virus is a bat-borne paramyxovirus that produces yearly outbreaks of fatal encephalitis in Bangladesh. Understanding the ecological conditions that lead to spillover from bats to humans can assist in designing effective interventions. To investigate the current and historical processes that drive Nipah spillover in Bangladesh, we analyzed the relationship among spillover events and climatic conditions, the spatial distribution and size of Pteropus medius roosts, and patterns of land-use change in Bangladesh over the last 300 years. We found that 53% of annual variation in winter spillovers is explained by winter temperature, which may affect bat behavior, physiology, and human risk behaviors. We infer from changes in forest cover that a progressive shift in bat roosting behavior occurred over hundreds of years, producing the current system where a majority of P. medius populations are small (median of 150 bats), occupy roost sites for 10 years or more, live in areas of high human population density, and opportunistically feed on cultivated food resources—conditions that promote viral spillover. Without interventions, continuing anthropogenic pressure on bat populations similar to what has occurred in Bangladesh could result in more regular spillovers of other bat viruses, including Hendra and Ebola viruses. View Full-Text
Keywords: zoonotic disease; spillover; one health; urbanization; Pteropus zoonotic disease; spillover; one health; urbanization; Pteropus
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MDPI and ACS Style

McKee, C.D.; Islam, A.; Luby, S.P.; Salje, H.; Hudson, P.J.; Plowright, R.K.; Gurley, E.S. The Ecology of Nipah Virus in Bangladesh: A Nexus of Land-Use Change and Opportunistic Feeding Behavior in Bats. Viruses 2021, 13, 169. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020169

AMA Style

McKee CD, Islam A, Luby SP, Salje H, Hudson PJ, Plowright RK, Gurley ES. The Ecology of Nipah Virus in Bangladesh: A Nexus of Land-Use Change and Opportunistic Feeding Behavior in Bats. Viruses. 2021; 13(2):169. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020169

Chicago/Turabian Style

McKee, Clifton D., Ausraful Islam, Stephen P. Luby, Henrik Salje, Peter J. Hudson, Raina K. Plowright, and Emily S. Gurley 2021. "The Ecology of Nipah Virus in Bangladesh: A Nexus of Land-Use Change and Opportunistic Feeding Behavior in Bats" Viruses 13, no. 2: 169. https://doi.org/10.3390/v13020169

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