Emerging zoonotic pathogens in Georgian bats


Project  Title : “Emerging zoonotic pathogens in Georgian bats”, BTEP/ISTC, G-2101; Project Duration: 01.02.2014  – to  01.08.2015.

Project summary

a).Project Objectives:

Bats are recognized as reservoirs of emerging zoonotic pathogens, such as lyssaviruse(Rabies), (MERS-CoV) coronaviruses,filoviruses and other. West Caucasian bat virus (WCBV) was isolated from an insectivorous bat founded closed to Georgian border.Commercially available rabies biologics, recommended by WHO do not provide protection against WCBV. According this, It is essential to conduct bat sampling, for identification above mentioned virus.Newly emerging coronavirus MERs-CoV causes many  fatal  respiratory disease in the world.  Reservuar for this virus may be horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus spp.)  There are many species of horseshoe bats in Georgian reserved territories and Caves. Due to this hypothesis, Bats will be tested as reservoires for MERs-CoV.


Bat Surveillance will be conducted at 4 regions of Georgia: Sagarejo (Tetri  senkebi) , Gardabani (Managed Reserve) Tskaltubo (caves) , Davit Gareji (caves) aprox. 200 bats. Bats, will be processed at BSL3 lab, all samples will be stored for further investigation on different pathogens.

Bats brains will be tested for lyssavirus identification by DFA (Direct Immunofluorescence assay) and PCR molecular methodologies. Collected  fecal material and rectal swabs from bats will be further investigated by sequencing and other molecular methodologies  for MERs coronavirus .

c).Expected Results

The proposed study is valuable for epidemiological and practical issues. It is will help for improvement of public health , for prevention and control strategies against Rabies and Coronavirus s diseases. Stored samples further will be investigated on other emerging pathogens, such is Bartonella, Nipha and Hantaviruses.