Bats host a number of pathogens that cause severe disease and onward transmission in humans and domestic animals. Some of these pathogens, including henipaviruses and filoviruses, are considered a concern for future pandemics. There has been substantial effort to identify these viruses in bats. However, the reservoir hosts for Ebola virus are still unknown and henipaviruses are largely uncharacterized across their distribution. Identifying reservoir species is critical in understanding the viral ecology within these hosts and the conditions that lead to spillover. We collated surveillance data to identify taxonomic patterns in prevalence and seroprevalence and to assess sampling efforts across species. We systematically collected data on filovirus and henipavirus detections and used a machine-learning algorithm, phylofactorization, in order to search the bat phylogeny for cladistic patterns in filovirus and henipavirus infection, accounting for sampling efforts. Across sampled bat species, evidence for filovirus infection was widely dispersed across the sampled phylogeny. We found major gaps in filovirus sampling in bats, especially in Western Hemisphere species. Evidence for henipavirus infection was clustered within the Pteropodidae; however, no other clades have been as intensely sampled. The major predictor of filovirus and henipavirus exposure or infection was sampling effort. Based on these results, we recommend expanding surveillance for these pathogens across the bat phylogenetic tree.
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