Experts Unsure About Root Cause Of Nipah Infection

Experts Unsure About Root Cause Of Nipah Infection

CHANGAROTH (KOZHIKODE), 21 MAY 2018: Even after it was confirmed that three people had died of Nipah viral infection in Changaroth grama panchayat, 40 km away from Kozhikode city, experts are yet to determine the root cause of the infection. Identifying a colony of bats inside a well in the compound of a house belonging to the family of two of the deceased, has, however, given them a sense of direction.


A team of 20 experts from various government agencies were at Sooppikkada on Monday to catch the bats. “There are two types of bats found in India, the fruit eating ones and the insectivorous bats. Fruit eating bats are carriers of Nipah virus. One can get infected by getting into contact with their excretion or by eating fruits bitten by them,” explained A.C. Mohandas, District Animal Husbandry Officer, who was in charge of the operation.


The family in question had purchased the house recently and was planning to shift to it soon. They had cleaned up the well which had long been left unused and inhabited by bats. Officials believe that Mohammed Sadik, who died on May 5, could have been infected during the cleaning process. There are also rumours that those who cleaned the well had eaten mangoes bitten by birds.


An expert team comprising officials from the National Centre for Disease Control; Institute of Virology, Manipal; College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Mannuthy; Regional Diagnostic Laboratory; Chief Disease Investigation Office of the Department of Animal Husbandry, and the Department of Forests worked for over an hour to capture a bat from the well, so that it could be tested for the virus.


“This is a purely entomological study, and we are planning to determine if the bats were indeed the source of infection. We need to find out how the virus, which is not very common in India, reached these bats. The tests will be conducted at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, and the results may be known in a week,” Dr. Mohandas said.The Hindu