Thiruvananthapuram. At Thirumala in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, several flying fox bats can be seen hanging from a tree. The trees are on the side of a road, where many people go for a walk every day. Last week, when some people from the area met during a morning walk, they started talking about trees and bats amid the presence of Nipah virus in Kerala. There is an atmosphere of fear and anxiety among people in Kerala after the death of a 12-year-old child due to Nipah virus in the state. However, close contacts of the victim have been found negative in the Nipah virus test. But the source of the virus is yet to be traced.
Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Sunday that the source of the infection is yet to be ascertained. George had said that it is important to identify the source of infection and the surveillance team of NIV of Pune is collecting samples from different parts. He said the high risk contacts at Kozhikode MCH have been isolated and their condition is stable. The state government had conducted a door-to-door survey within a radius of three kilometers from the house of the boy who died of Nipah virus to monitor fever.
Pointing to the tree, 67-year-old Muralikrishna, a retired central government employee, told The News Minute, ‘Should we ask the officials to cut the tree? There are so many fruit bats, how can we walk around here in peace?’ A retired doctor Ananthakrishna replied, ‘Don’t be fooled, according to WHO, if bats are put under pressure, the virus can spread from one species to another. Bats are full of virus, and can spread it anywhere.
Although there is no evidence that bats are the cause of the spread of the virus, such rumors have created tension among people. The Nipah virus outbreak was first seen in Kerala in 2018, in which 17 people lost their lives. In 2019, one person was infected, but he survived the virus. This time, the virus spread again in Kozhikode a week ago, as a 12-year-old boy from the district died of Nipah virus infection.
Bats are considered the natural host of the virus. Earlier in 2018, during the Nipah virus, bats were present around the areas where the infection spread in Kozhikode. However, none of the samples collected from bats were found to be positive for the virus infection. According to reports, bats were present in the well from which the family of the first three victims brought drinking water. However, experts said that they were bats that ate insects and were not virus-carrying agents.
Marilyn de Tuttle, founder and executive director of the Marilyn Tuttle Bat Conservation and Research Fellow, told The News Minute, ‘There is no credible evidence that bats carry more viruses, or even more dangerous viruses, than other animals. . Horrific headlines in the media can sabotage decades of efforts for conservation.
He said that the spread of the virus from bats to humans is extremely rare. Merlin said the benefits of sharing an ecosystem with bats far outweigh any threats. Experts say that so far there is no such study or evidence, which can prove that Nipah virus infection in India is spread due to bats.
Arakkal Madhavan, who has been studying bats for more than 50 years, said that ‘Before Nipah, many people used to consume bat meat and also believed that it helped asthma patients, but no one Has not been infected.
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