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Why do Bats Transmit so many Diseases like Ebola?

Nipah, Hendra, Ebola, Marburg, SARS. These are some of the world’s scariest viruses.
尼帕病 马流病 埃博拉 马尔堡病和SARS 这些都是世界上最令人恐惧的病毒
Hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola are extremely fatal – they kill up to 90 percent of people infected –
像埃博拉这样的出血热病症是致命的—— 致死率能达到90%
while SARS, a coronavirus, has a lower mortality rate but spreads incredibly rapidly.
而SARS 一种冠状病毒 虽然致死率较低 但传播却惊人的快
All of these nasty pathogens have surfaced in humans in just the last 50 years,
这些可恶的病毒在人体出现 都是近50年内才发生的事
and they are all carried by bats.
Which, to be clear, really isn’t bats’ fault: the recent rise in outbreaks is likely due to humans
要明确的是 引起最近病毒爆发这确实不是蝙蝠的错
and our animals creeping ever-farther into bats’ territory, especially in the tropics.
而是因为人类和爬行动物比之前更加深入蝙蝠的领地 尤其是在热带地区
In Malaysia, for example, the spread of commercial pig farms into bat-inhabited forests
比如在马来西亚 商业养猪场已经扩张到蝙蝠的栖息的森林
led to the first human outbreak – via pigs – of Nipah. And in Australia, human hendra
致使人们食用病猪而引起第一次尼帕病爆发 而在澳大利亚 人们感染亨德拉病毒的案例突然出现
cases are cropping up as destruction native forests forces fruit bats
to feed in suburban gardens.
But still: bats do appear to carry more human-killing diseases than pretty much any other animal.
而且 蝙蝠与其他动物相比 会给人类带来更多的致命疾病
One big reason is that, with a few notable exceptions, bats love company
最主要的原因之一是 除个别种类 大多数蝙蝠都喜欢群居
– different kinds of bats often roost together in huge numbers and close quarters,
which helps viruses spread not just between individuals, but also between species .
让病毒不仅在个体间传播 还在种群间传播
What’s more, most infected bats don’t die — they live pretty normal bat lives,
更甚者 大多数被感染的蝙蝠不会死 他们活的非常正常
flapping around and giving the viruses time to spread. In fact, flight may be the reason
它们会到处飞 将病毒传播开 事实上 也许就是因为蝙蝠会飞
bats are so resilient to infection.
As a rule, mammals can’t produce the immense amount of energy needed for flight
通常 哺乳动物无法提供飞行所需的巨大能量
without also producing a lot of reactive waste products that damage our DNA.
So when our bat cousins took to the air, they leveled-up their in-flight DNA damage repair kits and other defenses,
当蝙蝠飞向天空时 他们提升了DNA损伤修复和其他防御系统能力
including specialized cells that keep viral invaders in check.
So bats can survive the deadly viruses – but what may matter even more, for humans anyway,
因此蝙蝠可在致命病毒感染下存活 然而对我们人类来说 更重要的是了解
is how the viruses survive the bats.
Nasty as they are, most viruses are also extremely finicky — in order to thrive,
令人不快的是 大多数病毒的结构都是极其复杂的 为了生存
they require the perfectly controlled climate inside a normal, resting, on-the-ground mammal.
But when bats take to the air, their internal temperatures crawls to around 40°C.
而当蝙蝠飞向天空时 它们的体温会升至40℃左右
Those frequent in-flight saunas are far too toasty for your average virus, but a few hardy viruses
这样频繁的飞行桑拿对普通病毒来说一点也不温暖舒适 但对少数强大的病毒
have evolved to tolerate the heat. Which, incidentally, means they can definitely weather
它们进化到可以适应高热 这自然意味着它们可以适应
a meager human fever. Essentially, flight may have helped bats gain virtual immunity
人类发烧时的体温 从本质上看 蝙蝠飞行可以获得病毒免疫能力
to viruses AND trained viruses to be virtually immune to us. Stupid flying.
同时让病毒对人类免疫 这真要命
So, what should we land-lubbers do? We need bats for insect control and pollination – and
a whole bunch of other things – maybe we could even learn some immune tricks from them – like
还有一大堆的事 甚至可以通过它们了解一些免疫防御机制
how to be really good at not getting cancer! Plus, bats aren’t the biggest carriers of human disease.
比如怎么有效避免癌症 据统计 蝙蝠还不是人类疾病的最大携带者
Humans are – just do the math. Perhaps we’d be better off leaving bats alone,
人类自己才是 动动脑子想想 也许我们该远离蝙蝠
and trying to control the spread of diseases carried by a different kind of flying mammal.