Rabies, Out of the Roost

In Latin America, vampire bats are the biggest cause of rabies—killing up to 1% of people in some Amazon villages annually—and spreading to new areas.

Using genetic studies, Daniel Streicker, an infectious disease ecologist at the University of Glasgow, tracked the movement and social networks of bats and hit upon a way to predict where the disease will go next. He discovered that paths of “young, hot-to-trot males” in search of mates match up with the spread of rabies.

"The findings could be vital for predicting and managing outbreaks of rabies,” Gerald Carter, a vampire bat researcher at Panama’s Smithsonian Tropical Research Center, told NPR.

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