This update was written by Dr. Jennifer Kishbaugh, a Judy and John W. McCarter, Jr. Global Health Veterinary Intern with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Global Health Program.
Bats are vitally important to ecosystem health as pollinators and for insect control. But, they also serve as carriers of human and animal diseases. Megabats, such as the flying foxes of Southeast Asia, are often implicated in transferring fatal diseases to humans.