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Even vampire bats practice social distance when they get sick: study

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Social distance during a pandemic may seem unnatural to many, but it’s actually quite common in nature.

Birds do it, bees do it — and even vampire bats do it.

A New paper published in Behavioral Ecology On Tuesday, it was found that sick wild vampire bats spend less time near other bats in the colony, including other sick bats, slowing the rate at which the infection spreads throughout the community.

Researchers in the United States have found sick vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) I wanted to keep a distance from other bats in the laboratory setting and see if the bats show this behavior even in the wild.

There, they captured 31 adult female vampire bats from a roosting colony in a hollow tree in Lamanai, Belize. They simulated bat disease by injecting a random half of the bat with an immunocompromised substance (lipopolysaccharide, or LPS) while injecting saline into the control group of bats. Researchers also attached proximity sensors to bats and put them all back into hollow trees to track changes in movement and interactions with other bats.

Their findings: “Sick” bats associated with fewer bats in the group. They spend less time with other bats. And they had little social connection with healthy groupmates. “Sick” bats interacted with an average of four fewer bats compared to healthy control bats. And “sick” bats took less than 25 minutes to associate by partner. Healthy bats had a 49% chance of being associated with each control bat, but a 35% chance of being associated with each “sick” bat.

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And these limited interactions weren’t just because all the “sick” bats were gathered together. In fact, the association between the two “sick” bats was even lower than the association between the “sick” bat and the control bat. “Sick” bats are generally self-isolated to avoid access to other bats. Researchers have concluded that this helps “delay the spread of pathogens that are more likely to be transmitted at higher physical contact rates (eg, grooming) or in closer proximity.”

Previous studies of captive vampire bats have found that bats injected with the same LPS immune challenge to simulate the disease also kept a distance. The frequency to other bats is low.But One study The mother’s bats interact with the baby at the same rate, whether ill or not, indicating that kinship continues in the face of infection. This is similar to how people still take care of sick families. To sick relatives.

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Since animals do not have therapies or vaccines developed by people (not without human intervention anyway), social distance has proved to be the animal kingdom’s best line of defense against infectious diseases. And the social distance in nature manifests itself in many ways.

Bees and chimpanzees are the most aggressive. When a bacterial disease of myiasis infects a honeybee colony, it liquefies the honeybee larvae from the inside. Bees physically throw sick members From the hive to protect the rest of the colony. And renowned primatologist Jane Goodall observed chimpanzees attacking and expelling other chimpanzees infected with the highly contagious poliovirus from their army. National Geographic Report..

Or, many species choose to simply avoid members of their community who can feel they are ill. Bullfrog tadpoles in one study Actively avoided that other tadpoles they could detect had a fatal yeast infection.Caribbean spiny lobsters can tell if other lobsters have signed Panulirus argus The virus kills more than half of infected young lobsters with the smell of urine.so Research shows If a lobster does not pass the sniff test, a healthy lobster avoids it, even if it means refusing on its own. And while this self-quarantine can leave these highly social animals vulnerable, avoiding deadly infections outweighs the risk of being alone.

And Ali takes a two-sided approach When their colonies are exposed to a deadly infection Metarhician brunneum fungus. Foraging ants that go out for food, even if they are not infected by themselves, will self-isolate at a distance from the colony during the outbreak of the disease. Meanwhile, queen ants and “nurse” ants, who are responsible for breeding and breeding protection, move further inside the nest and away from predators to protect these vulnerable populations.

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Human society has adopted some of these social distance measurements to address the pandemic of the new coronavirus, which infects 43.6 million people, kills 1.16 million people and counts worldwide. According to Johns Hopkins data..

For example, people can be infected with the COVID-19 virus by wearing face masks, washing their hands frequently, and limiting contact with others by being at least 6 feet away from people they do not live with. You are encouraged to reduce sex. Particularly vulnerable people, such as the elderly and people in existing conditions, are advised to stay at home and limit their outings to important tasks such as buying food and receiving prescriptions. Also, schools and non-essential companies in many areas are temporarily closed throughout the year, Countries like Spain put their citizens under curfew To curb the surge in infection rates.

But many people around the world, and certainly all over the United States, have tried to confess the message that public health authorities are the best weapon we have against the new coronavirus. They are also developing treatments and vaccines that have proven effective against COVID-19, which suffers from measures that limit their movement and activity.In addition, a new study by Imperial College London warns: COVID-19 immunity may last only a few months after infection, Further discourages the idea that populations can develop herd immunity.

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For the past 30 years, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Requested a national mask mission..And A recent study by the Institute for Health Metrics, University of Washington It suggests that by February, 130,000 Americans could be saved in the following cases: 95% of people wear masks properly (Cover your nose, mouth and chin) In public places; social distance, hand washing, and other non-pharmaceutical precautions are taken. If daily deaths are at least 8 per million people, businesses and schools will be partially or completely closed for 6 weeks.

Without the universal mask obligation, researchers predict that by February 2021, a total of approximately 511,000 people will die of COVID-19 in the United States. As of Tuesday afternoon The United States had the highest case count in the world With 8.7 million people, the death toll is the highest at 225,765, about one-fifth of the world total.

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