Scientists of the National Institute of Virology of India for the first time discovered the Nipah virus (NiV) in bats. This is reported by The Indian Express with reference to the results of the examination, which were received by the Indian Council of Medical Research together with the National Institute of Virology.
The virus, which is naturally detected in bats, can cause a serious illness in humans, which is characterized by brain inflammation (encephalitis) or respiratory diseases. It is transmitted to people through fruits that have got the saliva of a sick animal. The virus is particularly contagious, there is no vaccine or medicine for it, the mortality rate among people infected with it is 40-75 percent.
The World Health Organization (WHO) calls the Nipah virus one of the most dangerous in the world. It was first registered in the Indian state of West Bengal in 2001 and 2007, and twice more – in 2018 and 2019 in Kerala.
Since the spring of 2020, researchers have used fog nets to catch dozens of winged animals and analyzed samples of bat species Rousettus leschenaultii (medium-sized bats) and Pipistrellus Pipistrellus (tiny insectivorous bats) that live in Mahabaleshwar, a popular mountain town in Satara district, Maharashtra. As a result, they found a positive result for NiV RNA and antibodies to the Nipah virus.
“According to scientists, repeated outbreaks, high mortality rates, human—to—human transmission and the lack of effective vaccines or antiviral drugs are of serious concern in India since bats are very common in areas where many people live,” the article notes.