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PROPORTION OF INJURED BATS RECEIVED BY ZOONOSIS CONTROL CENTER OF BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL.
Bats are one of the least understood mammals yet they are often feared by humans. This fear can be ascribed to mythology, some with basis in fact such that some bats can carrying diseases that can affect people and livestock, and some feed on blood. The Zoonosis Control Center (CCZ) of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, recovers bats for dianostic surveilance of the rabies virus (Rhabdoviridae). Although CCZ recovers only those bats exhibiting atypical behaviours, not all bats recovered test positive as carriers of the rabies virus. The aim of this work is study the proportion of bats with injuries compared with the total of animails received by CCZ, focusing on differences in recovery among years. Information on bat recoveries (e.g., date of recovery, lowest taxonomic classification possible, injured vs. not injured) were compiled for the period 2013 – 2018. Over the course of this study 33 species, of 4 families reflecting an array of foraging guilds (insectivorous, frugivorous, etc) were recovered. Results indicate that the number bats recovered was similar among years (mean = 211 bats/year, st dev = 31), increasing slightly over the course of the study (slope = 0.078, st dev = 0.014, p < 0.01), but with singificant increase for 2017 – 2018 (p < 0.01). The number of bats recovered that exhibited injury (eg, broken humerus [26% of injuries], broken cranium [19%], gross body injury [16%], etc) comprised only a fraction of the total number of bats reported (mean = 51 bats/year, st dev = 15), and increased at a similar rate as bats detected without injury. The percentage of bats recovered that tested positive as exposed to the rabies virus remained consistent among years (mean = 4.11%, st dev = 1.37). These findings provide evidence that bats recovered through the CCZ’s program include an array of species as well as those in various physiological condition. The increase in bats detected, especially in 2017 and 2018 could reflect increased incidence of bats, increased reporting, or changes in procedures of data collection. Although the proportion of bats recovered that tested positive as exposed to the rabies virus was low it is increasingly important to promote educational campaigns, especially in the media, about bats and their ecological services. This education should underline caution among the public in interacting with these animals while continuing to work to demystify prejudices towards these important organisms.
Chiroptera, damage, fear, rabies
Biologia da Conservação
Érica Munhoz de Mello, Rush A Scott