Antibodies against Nipah virus found in bats
Recently, A Survey was conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) on the bats of a cave in Mahabaleshwar, a popular hill station in Maharashtra.
The purpose of this survey was to find out the possible presence of antibodies against Nipah virus in bat species and to study the spread of Nipah virus (NIV) in bats from India.
It may be noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has included ‘Nipah virus’ in the top-10 pathogens of the global priority list.
About the survey:
- The team of ‘National Institute of Virology’ studied on ‘Rousettus leschenaultii’ and ‘Pipistrellus pipistrellus’ bats found in India.
- Pteropus medius bats, which are large fruit-eating bats, are the incriminated reservoir for NiV in India as both NiV RNA and antibodies were detected in the samples of these bats collected during previous NiV outbreaks.
Nipah virus outbreak in India:
- The outbreak of ‘Nipah virus’ has spread 4 times in India till date, and the death rate due to infection of this virus has been between 65 percent and 100 percent. In the year 2018, there was an outbreak of ‘Nipah virus’ in the state of Kerala.
- WHO has identified South Asian countries and some states of India as potential hotspots of the disease.
- Nipah virus is considered very dangerous for people, as no medicine or vaccine has been developed to prevent it, and the death rate is high in people infected with it. The virus is even deadlier than COVID-19, as the ‘Case Fatality Rate’ (CFR) in patients infected with Kovid-19 has been observed to be between 1-2 percent, while in the case of Nipah infection this rate is 65. reaches -100 percent.
- It is a zoonotic virus that spreads from animals to humans.
- The organism that causes Nipah virus encephalitis is Paramyxoviridae, a ribonucleic acid virus of the genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to the Hendra virus.
- Hendra Virus infection is rare emerging zoonoses. It causes severe disease in both infected horses and humans. It was first seen in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
- It started with domestic pigs. It was then observed in many species of domestic animals, including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
The disease is transmitted through fruit bats of the Pteropus genus, also known as ‘flying fox’, which are natural sources of Nipah and Hendra Viruses.
The virus is present in the bat urine, feces, saliva and fluids released at birth.
In humans, its symptoms are fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma and possible death.
Source – The Hindu