Friday , September 30 2022

The Road to the Epidemic – Wiener Zeitung Online


Fluorescent dust tests the migration and the social connections of the bats.Fluorescent dust tests the migration and the social connections of the bats.© Virginia Tech / Joe Hoyt and Kate Langwig
Fluorescent dust tests the migration and the social connections of the bats.© Virginia Tech / Joe Hoyt and Kate Langwig

Blacksburg / Vienna. Several times wild pathogens have spread to people and have captured local epidemics or even worldwide. Due to the excess of such a virus, the HI, Ebola, Sars or Asian Nipah virus were able. In order to find out what – sometimes hidden – that ways of such diseases can be spread, US researchers at the Virginia Tech University have taken bats to help, following their migration and notice how & Fatal fungal illness known as white syndrome among them scatters.

Since 2006, around 6.7 million bats have died of the disease in North America. Once applied, this patogenic spores remain in the contaminated site and is present as a source of contamination of the infection for several years. Animals who use this place for the winter are exposed to this risk year on year. For people, the fungus of the Pseudogymnoascus destructans name does not pose any danger. The researchers use it, however, because of its importance to the bats as an exemplar example of distribution scenarios, as stated in the "Nature" magazine.

contact marks
The research team led by Joseph Hoyt studied the animals and outlined their social networks. In addition, the researchers saw which bats, for example during hibernation, have only a connection in their own group and which symbols move between different groups. As a result, in the early winter some specimens of fluorescent powder sparkling beneath ultraviolet light. Different color was used for each animal. At the end of winter, the researchers returned to see what color was where to find.

"A great deal of data was collected from each bat and the fluorescent residue was used to track the paths and connections of every animal," said Kate Langwig, Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. In this way, they were able to identify which animal has left their mark, or which of them have raised dust and carried on. The researchers also understood which bats were in direct contact with each other and realized that there were unexpected meetings.

Previously, the scientists have assumed that we mainly absorb diseases from a close social environment – within the family, among friends or colleagues. "We mainly forget the employees in the supermarket, the barress in the espresso bar or the neighbors in the subway," said the study. We are aware of the fact, but not the importance of spreading an epidemic. But there's probably a great problem in these hidden interactions, according to the researchers. They talk about "cryptic connections" of this name.

Loner has to protect
"Such cryptic links are important routes between individuals who are usually unconnected, as researchers have often ignored the past, but this study shows their importance," said Langwig.

Especially in a species, this has to show in particular – the brown brown hog, which is known as a lane and therefore not overgrown in groups. Fluorescent dust has now produced interactions that would never have suspected. "We did not always think that the infection could spread like this," said Hoyt. The East American dwarf bat, a famous lane, showed a much lower infection rate. With her, there were hardly any unexpected meetings of it. It confines itself primarily to a home territory, which offers their protection. To imitate this would be more than counterproductive to us human. The dangers are now obvious on the board.

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