Domesticated animals as hosts of henipaviruses and filoviruses: A systematic review

02 Mar 2018

Bat-borne viruses carry undeniable risks to the health of human beings and animals, and there is growing recognition of the need for a 'One Health' approach to understand their frequently complex spill-over routes. While domesticated animals can play central roles in major spill- over events of zoonotic bat-borne viruses, for example during the pig- amplified Malaysian Nipah virus outbreak of 1998-1999, the extent of their potential to act as bridging or amplifying species for these viruses has not been characterised systematically. This review aims to compile current knowledge on the role of domesticated animals as hosts of two types of bat-borne viruses, henipaviruses and filoviruses. A systematic literature search of these virus-host interactions in domesticated animals identified 72 relevant studies, which were categorised by year, location, design and type of evidence generated. The review then focusses on Africa as a case study, comparing research efforts in domesticated animals and bats with the distributions of documented human cases. Major gaps remain in our knowledge of the potential ability of domesticated animals to contract or spread these zoonoses. Closing these gaps will be necessary to fully evaluate and mitigate spill-over risks of these viruses, especially with global agricultural intensification.