Evidence of antimicrobial resistance in bats and its planetary health impact for surveillance of zoonotic spillover events: a scoping review

P Devnath, N Karah, JP Graham, ES Rose, Muhammad Asaduzzaman

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other outbreaks, such as SARS and Ebola, bats are recognized as a critical species for mediating zoonotic infectious disease spillover events. While there is a growing concern of increased antimicrobial resistance (AMR) globally during this pandemic, knowledge of AMR circulating between bats and humans is limited. In this paper, we have reviewed the evidence of AMR in bats and discussed the planetary health aspect of AMR to elucidate how this is associated with the emergence, spread, and persistence of AMR at the human–animal interface. The presence of clinically significant resistant bacteria in bats and wildlife has important implications for zoonotic pandemic surveillance, disease transmission, and treatment modalities. We searched MEDLINE through PubMed and Google Scholar to retrieve relevant studies (n = 38) that provided data on resistant bacteria in bats prior to 30 September 2022. There is substantial variability in the results from studies measuring the prevalence of AMR based on geographic location, bat types, and time. We found all major groups of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria in bats, which are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. The most alarming issue is that recent studies have increasingly identified clinically significant multi-drug resistant bacteria such as Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), ESBL producing, and Colistin resistant Enterobacterales in samples from bats. This evidence of superbugs abundant in both humans and wild mammals, such as bats, could facilitate a greater understanding of which specific pathways of exposure should be targeted. We believe that these data will also facilitate future pandemic preparedness as well as global AMR containment during pandemic events and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Article number243
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)
  • Bats
  • One health
  • Planetary health
  • Zoonotic spillover


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