Wildlife & Biodiversity

Nipah virus antibodies found in Indian bats in Mahabaleshwar cave

Two bat species had the virus and antibodies

By DTE Staff
Published: Wednesday 23 June 2021

Researchers have found the presence of antibodies against the Nipah virus (NiV) in some bat species from a cave in Mahabaleshwar. The research was jointly conducted by the Indian Cuncil of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology.

The survey was done for studying the spread of NiV in Indian bat species. Two bat species, Leschenault's rousette and common pipistrelle, were trapped using mist nets. Blood, throat, and rectal swab samples were collected onsite from anaesthetised bats.

Researchers found both the virus and antibodies in these bat.

India has witnessed four episodes of NiV outbreaks, with case fatality rate ranging from 65 per cent to 100 per cent. The first NiV outbreak was reported in West Bengal's Siliguri district in 2001. An outbreak reported in Calicut district in Kerala killed 18 people in 2018, followed by another outbreak in the state in 2019.

Southeast Asian countries and some Indian states have been identified as potential hotspots for the NiV disease. NiV is one of the top-10 priority list pathogens identified by the World Health Organization. As of now, there are no medicines or vaccines for the disease.


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