The researchers believe that the likely source of the respiratory disease Sars is the horseshoe bat in which a virus closely related to the Sars corona virus has been found. The virus found is 92% similar to the human Sars virus. The horseshoe bats were found in three regions of China and do exist in the United States.
However, bats are not the ones who were transmitting the virus. Scientists report that the virus may have needed to infect another animal such as the civet before it could transmit to humans. Civets are animals eaten in wildlife restaurants and butchered in live animal markets in southern China.
The finding is important in preventing outbreaks of SARS and similar viruses carried by bats because it provides an opportunity for scientists to break the transmission chain.
It is still not known why the virus is present in these bats, why it can infect just these species. That is something that yet needs to be investigated.
SARS, or sudden acute respiratory syndrome, first appeared in China in 2002. It spread widely in early 2003 to infect at least 8,098 people in 26 countries, according to the World Health Organization. The disease died out later in 2003, and no cases have been reported since.