The risk of spillover of enzootic paramyxoviruses and the susceptibility of recipient human and domestic animal populations are defined by a broad collection of ecological and molecular factors that interact in ways that are not yet fully understood. Nipah and Hendra viruses were the first highly lethal zoonotic paramyxoviruses discovered in modern times, but other paramyxoviruses from multiple genera are present in bats and other reservoirs that have unknown potential to spillover into humans. We outline our current understanding of paramyxovirus reservoir hosts and the ecological factors that may drive spillover, and we explore the molecular barriers to spillover that emergent paramyxoviruses may encounter. By outlining what is known about enzootic paramyxovirus receptor usage, mechanisms of innate immune evasion, and other host-specific interactions, we highlight the breadth of unexplored avenues that may be important in understanding paramyxovirus emergence.
Keywords: Ecology; Emerging viruses; Henipavirus; Morbillivirus; Paramyxovirus; Pathogenesis; Reservoir; Rubulavirus; Tropism; Zoonotic.
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