Living Safely with Bats: A One Health Educational Resource

Cover artwork created by Ava Sullivan and Stephanie Martinez
Publicado: 24 Marzo 2022
Última edición: 24 Marzo 2022
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As part of a public health communication strategy related to the identification of a novel filovirus in bats in West Africa, an initiative was launched to create a widely accessible One Health educational and risk communication resource for community outreach. A moderated picture book was developed, titled Living Safely with Bats, that now has been adapted, translated, and used in more than 20 countries in Africa and Asia. This product includes text and artwork developed by a consortium of public health, veterinary health, conservation, bat, and disease ecology experts from 29 countries. The book is a collection of evidence-based prevention measures which encourage community members to live safely with bats and avoid exposure to potential zoonotic threats.


Asia Central y del Norte
Asia del Este
Oeste de Asia, Medio Oriente
Sudeste Asiático
Sur de Asia
África Occidental y Central
África Oriente y África del Sur
África del Norte
Scale of implementation
Bosques tropicales de hoja perenne
Campos de cultivo
Ecosistemas de pastizales
Ecosistemas forestales
Pradera tropical, sabana, matorral
Selva baja caducifolia
Acceso y participación en los beneficios
Actores locales
Caza furtiva y delitos ambientales
Comunicación y divulgación
Especies y la extinción
Institucionalización de la biodiversidad
One Health
Species Conservation and One Health Interventions
Comunicación de riesgos, participación de la comunidad y cambio de comportamiento
One Health
Sanidad animal
El vínculo entre biodiversidad y salud
Sistemas alimentarios
Aspectos sanitarios ligados a factores socioeconómicos, tales como: La pobreza, la educación, las estructuras de seguridad social, la digitalización, los sistemas de financiación y el desarrollo de la capacidad humana
Enfermedades tropicales desatendidas, enfermedades infecciosas emergentes, enfermedades no transmisibles, zoonosis y resistencia a los antimicrobianos
Comercio de fauna y flora silvestre y conflictos entre el hombre y la fauna
Degradación de tierras y bosques
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Cacería furtiva
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Cambios en el contexto socio-cultural
Falta de seguridad alimentaria
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente gobernanza y participación
Sustainable development goals
ODS 3 - Salud y bienestar
ODS 12 - Producción y consumo responsables
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
Aichi targets
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 2: Valores de biodiversidad integrados
Meta 4: Producción y consumo sostenibles
Meta 13: Protección de la diversidad genética
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 18: Conocimiento tradicional
Meta 19: Intercambio de información y conocimiento
Marco de Sendai
Meta 1: Reducir la mortalidad global por desastre para 2030
Meta 5: Incrementar el número de países con estrategias nacionales y locales para la reducción de riesgos para el 2020.


Guinea | Bangladesh, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ghana, Guinea, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Nepal, ROC, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam


After the detection of Bombali ebolavirus (BOMV) in Sierra Leone and in response to identified knowledge gaps about zoonotic disease transmission risk during the 2013-16 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, an initiative was launched to create a One Health educational resource to help communities manage their exposure risk to pathogens found in bats. This resource aimed to facilitate informed discussions on ways to reduce contact and disease transmission risk and to include information of the beneficial ecosystem services that bats provide.


 Beneficiaries include communities living in close contact with bats, the bat populations themselves, and the surrounding wildlife and natural and built environment present in the communities. 

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The presence of each of these building blocks was essential to ensuring their collective success – without local knowledge and the collaboration of technical experts, the risk communication demonstrated throughout this project would not have been effective or useful. A clear communication strategy between local actors and collaborators ensured all of the relevant information was captured and translated into comprehensive books for wide audiences. Each of these building blocks amplify each other, resulting in better health outcomes for people, wildlife, and their environment.  


Living Safely with Bats is an educational and risk communication resource that was developed with the goal of mitigating infectious disease spillover from bats through accessible risk communication. This educational tool which aims at addressing behavior, knowledge and attitudes around risky human-bat interfaces, is an example of essential primary prevention efforts towards pandemic prevention. Stopping spillover is the most cost effective and timely strategy for the pressing challenge of mitigating epidemic and pandemic risk to avoid crises like COVID-19, and offers under-utilized strategies compared to post-emergence strategies like vaccines and drug therapies. From school sessions to town halls, to government-facing conferences, the resource was used in countries throughout Asia and Africa as both the focal point of educational programs and as a supporting resource for larger One Health efforts. The book had increased impact as it is a low-barrier resource which is easily translated or used as a visual aid in instances where literacy is low.


Living Safely with Bats has been used as a risk communication and education resource across many communities. The booklet remains a flexible tool which can be adapted to local contexts.  Living Safely with Bats has been translated in over 15 languages, and also provides messaging which can be applied to diverse settings, from classrooms to townhalls.

In Cote d’ Ivoire, the PREDICT team conducted community outreach using the Living Safely with Bats and risk communication resource. Copies of the bat book were distributed by a community leader during a visit in April 2019, and a presentation of Living Safely with Bats was also conducted within the village via projector. In addition, during the joint FAO, IPCI, LANADA, DSV and PREDICT training mission, farmers were made aware of related community risks, such as safe livestock practices , the advantages of vaccinating animals, and the economic importance of rural livestock.

In Guinea, over 5,000 people in the at-risk communities where PREDICT surveillance and sampling activities occurred were engaged in risk communication efforts and educational outreach from October 2018 until the completion of the project in September 2019. In order to reach more of the general public, the PREDICT-Guinea team worked with rural radio stations in Guinea to broadcast an interactive podcast program entitled “Health for All”. The podcast was specifically focused on the messages in the Living Safely with Bats booklet and was broadcast in French along with 4 other major Forest Region dialects (Kissi, Toma, Guerzé and Malinké). The program based off of the messaging from ‘Living Safely with Bats’ was broadcast weekly for several months through the entire Forest Region on channels accessible to >1.9 million individuals. 


More stories about the Implementation of Living Safely with Bats can be found in PREDICT-2 Final Report:

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Ava Sullivan EcoHealth Alliance