Fruit bats may not be the cause of Nipah Virus: Research

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 29, 2018
Quick Bites

  • A new research have refuted claims that bats are the cause of Nipah virus in Kerala
  • Results show that animals are not the reason behind the infection at all
  • NiV has taken the lives of 12 people in Kerala

After taking the lives of 12 people in Kerala, Nipah Virus (NiV) has become a subject of intense research. So far, fruit bats were being considered the major cause of the disease but experts are saying otherwise. 

According to a new investigation, health experts have refuted the claims and believe that bats may not be the cause of NiV in Kerala. National Institute of High Security Diseases in Bhopal has examined the blood and serum samples of 21 bats. Other animals including rabbits, cows, dogs etc were also tested but all results turned out negative. 

Results show that animals are not the reason behind the infection. 

Nipah Virus and Bats

Initially, it was detected that bats are the major reason behind the spread of the virus due to its history in Malaysia and Bangladesh. In 1998 in Malaysia and in 2004 in Bangladesh, the main causes of the virus were bats and pigs. Moreover, a bat was found in the well of the family who died of the virus, which gave rise to such speculations. 

Dr Srinivasulu of Osmania University told TOI that fruit bats are a host to Nipah virus, but its role in the spread has been exaggerated.

Also Read: Nipah Virus: Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Nipah Virus 

  • Inflammation of the brain 
  • Persistent Drowsiness 
  • Nausea 
  • High fever 
  • Disorientation 
  • Mental Confusion 
  • Coma 

The symptoms could last up to 7-10 days. If you experience any such symptoms, you should get tested immediately and thoroughly by a professional. 

Protection from Nipah Virus 

  • Do not eat fruits fallen from the trees, be careful before consuming any kind of fruit 
  • Do not touch or go near the person infected with the virus 
  • Consult a doctor immediately in case of high fever or a severe headache 
  • Elderly people and people suffering from diabetes need to be more careful 
  • Avoid pork, sausage and pork chops
  • Avoid direct contact with bats and sick pigs 
  • Do not consume raw date palm sap for a while

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