THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is reported that the recurrence outbreak of Nipah in Kerala remains a mystery. The virus was undetected in bats captured from the region. Both the Central and state Animal Welfare Boards had captured bats from the area for analysis.
Out of the samples collected, 36 were found to be negative. The health department officials stated that it will continue to test bats and some other animals. Nipah was detected in bats when tests were conducted in previous years when the disease first hit Kerala. However, how the disease is transmitted from bats to humans remains unclear.
Earlier, Dr. Rajeev Bahl, Director General of ICMR, expressed his concerns over the recurrence of Nipah in Kerala and informed the media that scientists are now focusing on ‘why Kerala is repeatedly affected by Nipah.’ He also emphasized the need to find the source of the virus.
Experts point out that only when clarity is reached regarding the transmission route will preventive measures become foolproof. The widespread death of wild boars in Nipah-affected areas had raised concerns and gave rise to the suspicion that this outbreak may have been spread from pigs.
In Janakikadu, Ottakandam, and Charuthippara areas, the death of wild boars in large numbers was noticed by the locals.
At present, three central teams are on the ground: the National Institute of Virology bat survey team, one team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and another team from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to oversee prevention activities in Kozhikode.
The team furthermore also decides to collect samples from domestic animals, pigs, and bats in Nipah-confirmed areas with the help of the forest and local self-government departments.