Nipah antibodies found in bat samples in Kerala
Part of: Prelims and GS – II – Health
Context Nipah virus antibodies (IgG antibodies) were detected in bat samples collected by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, from Kodiyathoor and Thamarassery in Kozhikode district (Kerala) near the panchayat where a Nipah infection was confirmed last month.
- A sample belonging to the Pteropus species, collected from Thamarassery, was found to have Nipah antibodies, while the same was detected in another sample from the Rousettus species collected from Kodiyathoor.
- Given the current evidence, it would be logical to conclude that the Nipah outbreak in Kozhikode did originate from bats, even though the route of virus transmission from bats to humans is still unknown.
- Meanwhile, the State is past the 21-day incubation period since the lone case of Nipah was reported at Kozhikode on September 4, during which time there were no fresh cases.
- If no more cases of Nipah surface in another 21 days’ time, it would be safe to declare that the outbreak has been completely brought under control.
What is Nipah?
- It is a zoonotic virus, meaning it has been transmitted from animals to human beings.
- Fruit bats, commonly known as flying fox, are considered to be a natural reservoir of the virus.
- Transmission: Humans get infected mainly through direct contact with these animals. The virus can also be passed on through food contaminated by saliva or urine of these infected animals or directly from person-to-person.
- Symptoms include acute encephalitis and respiratory illnesses.
- The Nipah virus is known to spread far more slowly than SARS-CoV-2. However, it is its ability to kill that is the biggest concern.