Medical experts have discovered a new flu virus in Peruvian bats, which appears to be potentially infective between species.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tagged the H18N11 bat virus, described in the October issue of Live Science, as A/bar/Peru/10. Scientists have identified the virus as an influenza A variety, like those that commonly infect birds.
In 2012, the same team of scientists identified the H17N10 flu virus in bats found in Guatemala.
The bird flu and pig flu are already all too familiar to humans. Could the bat flu follow suit?
The well-known avian flu and swine flu viruses were demonstrated to be zoonotic, meaning they were able to jump from one species to another.
Early testing has not yet indicated that the bat virus is dangerous to humans or primates, although scientists have not ruled out that possibility.
Bat-to-human flu transmission has not been documented thus far, although bats have been known to pass such infections as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) / Coronovirus and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) to humans. Bats have also shared rabies with all sorts of animals.
Also, bats may serve as hosts for various infections, which may adapt over time to become more zoonotically infective to humans, dogs, horses, pigs, cats, ferrets, or other animals. Experts are uncertain whether secondary or tertiary mutated forms of these infections may then be passed along to additional species.
At this point, no one knows for sure, and a bat flu vaccine for pets or humans is a long way off.
Holy influenza epidemic, Batman … or not.
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