‘Bat Flu’ Scare Hits Media Among Weaponized Bird Flu Release Debate
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Amid the controversy surrounding the potential release of heavily weaponized H5N1 bird flu, scientists are now reporting that they have found evidence of flu in bats, and state that the risk to humans is unclear.
Being labeled as ‘bat flu’, the discovery marks the first documented report of a flu virus in winged mammals. For now, scientists have not been able to grow the virus and are unaware of how easily the virus can spread.
The news shocked many scientists who previously thought that the flu had already been discovered in all possible animals. While flu bugs have been tracked in animals such as dogs, horses, whales, and seals, bats were never thought to contract the flu. Interestingly, however, it may have been discovered around five years ago.
Back in 2009, Russian virologists reported that they had found flu in bats, but their claims were rejected due to insufficient evidence.
‘Most people are fairly convinced we had already discovered flu in all the possible’ animals, said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientist Ruben Donis, who co-wrote the bat flu study.