Tests negate theory that bats cause Nipah infection

Tests on all the 21 blood and serum samples of bats, suspected to be the prime source of the deadly Nipah virus which claimed 12 lives at Kozhikode in Kerala, have been found to be negative, as per some reports.
Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi

The mystery over the source of the virus has deepened after the test results at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal were declared.
Health officials have now decided to examine the travel history of Mohamed Sadiq, the first to die from the Moosa family in Kozhikode, which lost four members to the virus. He was working in the Middle East and his mother had told officials that he suffered from some stomach ailment.
Soon after the confirmation of Nipah virus, health and animal husbandry officials had inspected the well in the Moosa’s house in Changaroth village and found many bats in it. The well was immediately sealed and people started attacking bats at many places. A senior official of the state animal husbandry department reportedly said, “Along with bats, we also took samples of domestic animals such as cow, goat, rabbit, dog and cat, and those too were negative.” Some experts had earlier expressed doubts over bats’ role in causing the infection after they found most of the bats from Moosa family well were insectivorous (insect-consuming) bats and not fruit bats.
Meanwhile, rumours of the disease spreading in Tamil Nadu have started doing the rounds on WhatsApp, with messages claiming that nongu could be a potential carrier of the virus.
The state health department has claimed that it’s prepared to handle the Nipah virus. Stating that they will be able to quickly identify cases, Dr K Kolandaisamy, Director, Department of Public Health, said, “An acute encephalitis survey is under way in the state for over a decade. The government machinery has been activated to intensively look for such cases in both government and private hospitals.” “Even if cases do surface, all of our medical college and district headquarters hospitals have isolation wards.
Besides, protective equipment is in place to handle such cases,” added Dr Kolandaisamy.

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