Katharine Sharon’s peer review of Sarah Repsher’s article:This was an interesting and introspective article on Hendra virus from the point of view of the bats. While most people know Hendra virus is spread via flying foxes to horses and then horses to humans, this article highlighted one of the more interesting aspects of bats as reservoirs – even though the virus is widespread in bats, the bats don’t have clinical signs associated with the virus. As this article states, Hendra virus is transmitted horizontally between bats. This is frightening information when you consider that all a horse has to do is ingest bat secretions or birthing fluids to become infected. Inaddition, this article shows that stressors – such as a lack of food – increases the bats’ susceptibility of contracting the virus, which is an alarming point since the rampant outbreaks and spread of the virus experienced in 2011 was deemed due to bats traveling further for food. This article is a creative take on a worrisome and interesting virus.
Sarah took a completely different perspective with this project and it was a breath of fresh air. You could really see her creative side coming out in her writing! The graphics in the article were well integrated and I loved the bit of humor at the end about watching their aim! The bats are often depicted negatively when considering the Hendra virus, but Sarah’s article challenged the reader to look at the situation from their point of view. I enjoyed this reading experience and applaud Sarah’s creativity.-Tarah Satalino-
Comments from Charlie Alex:This description of the ecology of Hendra virus was presented in a fun, creative manner. The 'bat's eye' view of the virus and the mechanisms of its transmission was simple and effective at communicating the risk factors associated with Hendra infections in horses and people. Moreover, it highlights the bats' critical role in the natural history of the virus, and hints at some deeper questions regarding the role of bats in the transmission of viral diseases in general. Bats are implicated as hosts for a number of viral zoonoses, and a better understanding of their immune function might be informative for the study of the pathogenesis of these diseases in other species, including humans. In all, I thought this was a creative, fun, and effective account.
Shauna Bartholomew-Sarah, your article was very unique and informative. I liked the bat perspective and what factors regarding the bat’s behavior and hardships contribute to the potential exposure of horses and then people. Normally when you think of a host, it always seems as if it’s their fault for the disease transmission, when in reality, the bats are going about with normal behavior and have no control over who they infect. The piece was very factual yet entertaining. Great job!