Climate change has affected the spillover risk of bat-borne pathogens
Bat-borne viruses are a threat to global health and have in recent history had major impacts to human morbidity and mortality. Examples include diseases such as rabies, Ebola, SARS-Cov-1, and SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19). Climate change could exacerbate the emergence of bat-borne pathogens by affecting the distribution and abundance of bats in tropical ecosystems. Here we report an assessment of historical climate and vampire bat occurrence data for the last century, which revealed a relationship between climatic variation and risk of disease spillover triggered by changes in bat distributions. This report represents one of the first examples of empirical evidence of global change effects on continental patterns of bat-borne pathogen transmission risk. We therefore recommend that more research is necessary on the impacts of climate change on bat-borne pathogen spillover risk, and that climate change impacts on bat-borne disease should be considered in global security initiatives.