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Medical News & Perspectives
November 27, 2013

More Evidence Emerges That Bats May Have Spread SARS

JAMA. 2013;310(20):2138. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.283495

Bats have long been among the prime suspects as carriers of the coronavirus that caused the 2003-2004 global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), but conclusive evidence has been hard to come by. Now a new study bolsters the case that bats may have directly transmitted the SARS virus to humans.

The emergence of SARS in China and its rapid spread around the world drew attention to the public health importance of zoonotic diseases. Ultimately, the SARS pandemic grew to an estimated 8000 cases and 750 deaths. It also launched investigations into the source of the infection that continue to this day.