Scientists at Pune’s Indian Council of Medical Research – National Institute of Virology were able to detect the presence of IgG antibodies against Nipah virus infection (NiV) in 51 bats that were captured from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
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- Nipah virus (NiV) is one of the priority pathogens with a pandemic potential. Though the spread is far slower than SARS-CoV-2, case fatality is the biggest concern
- The fruit bats of genus Pteropus are identified to be the main reservoir of the Nipah virus causing annual outbreaks in Malaysia, Bangladesh and other countries in South-East Asia including India
- However, three incidences of NiV infections in humans in Kerala which is far distant from the known “Nipah belt” in consecutive years with no identified intermediate animal host or confirmed mode of entry into human population warrants the heightened need of constant surveillance of NiV in bats, animals and humans
WHAT IS NIPAH
- Zoonotic virus transmitted from animals to humans
- First broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999
- First appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
- Transmitted to people from animals and can also be passed on through contaminated food or directly from person-to-person
- Fruit bats are considered to be a natural reservoir of the virus
- Symptoms include acute encephalitis and respiratory illnesses
- Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.