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Zoonotic Risk: One More Good Reason Why Cats Should Be Kept Away from Bats

1
Wildlife Research Unit, Dipartimento di Agraria, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via Università 100, 80055 Portici, Italy
2
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Ricerca sugli Ecosistemi Terrestri, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Magda Dunowska
Pathogens 2021, 10(3), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030304
Received: 29 January 2021 / Revised: 25 February 2021 / Accepted: 1 March 2021 / Published: 5 March 2021
Bats are often unfairly depicted as the direct culprit in the current COVID-19 pandemic, yet the real causes of this and other zoonotic spillover events should be sought in the human impact on the environment, including the spread of domestic animals. Here, we discuss bat predation by cats as a phenomenon bringing about zoonotic risks and illustrate cases of observed, suspected or hypothesized pathogen transmission from bats to cats, certainly or likely following predation episodes. In addition to well-known cases of bat rabies, we review other diseases that affect humans and might eventually reach them through cats that prey on bats. We also examine the potential transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the causal agent of COVID-19, from domestic cats to bats, which, although unlikely, might generate a novel wildlife reservoir in these mammals, and identify research and management directions to achieve more effective risk assessment, mitigation or prevention. Overall, not only does bat killing by cats represent a potentially serious threat to biodiversity conservation, but it also bears zoonotic implications that can no longer be neglected. View Full-Text
Keywords: bat; cat; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; spillback; spillover; zoonotic risk bat; cat; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; spillback; spillover; zoonotic risk
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MDPI and ACS Style

Salinas-Ramos, V.B.; Mori, E.; Bosso, L.; Ancillotto, L.; Russo, D. Zoonotic Risk: One More Good Reason Why Cats Should Be Kept Away from Bats. Pathogens 2021, 10, 304. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030304

AMA Style

Salinas-Ramos VB, Mori E, Bosso L, Ancillotto L, Russo D. Zoonotic Risk: One More Good Reason Why Cats Should Be Kept Away from Bats. Pathogens. 2021; 10(3):304. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030304

Chicago/Turabian Style

Salinas-Ramos, Valeria B., Emiliano Mori, Luciano Bosso, Leonardo Ancillotto, and Danilo Russo. 2021. "Zoonotic Risk: One More Good Reason Why Cats Should Be Kept Away from Bats" Pathogens 10, no. 3: 304. https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10030304

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