Improving the surveillance of zoonotic pathogens associated with bats in Central Europe

In cooperation with the Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, Slovakia and the University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy in Košice, Slovakia, to study the role of bats in the presence, prevalence, and distribution of zoonotic pathogens in Central Europe.

Despite their crucial ecological role, bats are still one of the most understudied mammals. Their complex social behaviours and migratory patterns make them fascinating research subjects. Moreover, growing concern exists about their role in maintaining zoonotic pathogens, including tick-borne pathogens. While some studies suggest that bats are a natural reservoir for many microbes, the exact transmission mechanisms and potential risks to human and (domestic) animal health are still poorly understood.

I’m excited to inform you that this project will launch on March 1st, 2024 and conclude on February 28th, 2025. The project will provide valuable initial data to help us better understand the role bats play, formulate strategies against the spread of zoonotic pathogens, and provide valuable information on how to protect bats as endangered animals.

The project is funded by SAIA, Aktion Österreich – Slowakei (Project no. 2023-10-15-001)