Temporal and spatial limitations in global surveillance for bat filoviruses and henipaviruses
Sampling reservoir hosts over time and space is critical to detect epizootics, predict spillover, and design interventions. Yet spatiotemporal sampling is rarely performed for many reservoir hosts given high logistical costs and potential tradeoffs between sampling over space and time. Bats in particular are reservoir hosts of many virulent zoonotic pathogens such as filoviruses and henipaviruses, yet the highly mobile nature of these animals has limited optimal sampling of bat populations
... at populations across both space and time. To quantify the frequency of temporal sampling and to characterize the geographic scope of bat virus research, we here collated data on filovirus and henipavirus prevalence and seroprevalence in wild bats. We used a phylogenetically controlled meta-analysis to next assess temporal and spatial variation in bat virus detection estimates. Our analysis demonstrates that only one in five studies sample bats longitudinally, that bat sampling efforts cluster geographically (e.g., filovirus data are available across much of Africa and Asia but are absent from Latin America and Oceania), and that reporting trends may affect some viral detection estimates (e.g., filovirus seroprevalence). Within the limited number of longitudinal bat virus studies, we observed high spatiotemporal variation. This suggests spatiotemporal sampling designs are essential to understand how zoonotic viruses are maintained and spread within and across wild bat populations, which in turn could help predict and preempt risks of viral spillover.