Extreme temperature event and mass mortality of insectivorous bats
A mass mortality event involving Chaerephon plicatus and Taphozous theobaldi bats occurred during a heat wave in April 2016 in Cambodia. This was investigated to clarify the causes of the die-off and assess the risk to public health. Field evidences, clinical signs, and gross pathology findings were consistent with a heat stress hypothesis. However, the detection of a novel bat paramyxovirus raises questions about its role as a contributing factor or a coincidental finding. Systematic documentation of bat die-offs related to extreme weather events is necessary to improve understanding of the effect of changing weather patterns on bat populations and the ecosystem services they provide.
KeywordsBat paramyxovirus Die-off Extreme weather event Heat stress Outbreak investigation
We thank the Forestry Administration, the Ministry of Environment, and the Angkor Center for Conservation of Biodiversity for facilitating this investigation.
This study was funded by the European Union under the INNOVATE program, through the two projects LACANET (DCI-ASIE/2013/315-151) and ComAcross (DCI-ASIE/2013/315-047).
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with protocol no. 15:04 reviewed and approved by WCS’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Access to site and authorization to conduct the study was granted by the Ministry of Environment of the Royal Government of Cambodia.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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