No Virological Evidence for an Influenza A-like Virus in European Bats
New members of the influenza A virus genus have been detected recently in bats from South America. By molecular investigations, using a generic real-time RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) that detects all previously known influenza A virus subtypes (H1-H16) and a newly developed RT-qPCR specific for the South American bat influenza-like virus of subtype H17, a total of 1571 samples obtained from 1369 individual bats of 26 species from Central Europe were examined. No evidence for the occurrence of such influenza viruses was found. Further attempts towards a more comprehensive evaluation of the role of bats in the ecology and epidemiology of influenza viruses should be based on more intense monitoring efforts. However, given the protected status of bats, not only in Europe, such activities need to be embedded into existing pathogen-monitoring programs.