Kerala Health Minister Veena George has confirmed that National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune has detected antibodies against Nipah virus in samples collected from bats in Kozhikode. This suggests that the Nipah virus spread from bats to humans. It also comes weeks after a 12-year-old boy succumbed to the Nipah virus in Kozhikode. "Samples were collected from bats found around the place where the Nipah virus case was confirmed. As informed by NIV Pune, in some of the samples they have found Igg antibodies against Nipah Virus. ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) is doing more studies on it, more samples will be tested," Veena George said.
Reports say that samples collected from two bats had tested positive for antibodies against the Nipah virus. The Health Minister said that more samples are being tested by NIV and that further action will be taken in the wake of the new information.
A 12-year-old boy from Mavoor died at a hospital in Kozhikode on September 5 after contracting the Nipah virus. Though many of his contacts were traced and isolated, the virus was not transmitted to anyone else. The observation period of 21 days has lapsed and all samples collected from quarantined people returned negative. Some of the contacts had even showed some symptoms like fever but the samples returned negative.
When the first outbreak of Nipah was reported in Kerala in 2018 from Kozhikode’s Perambra, scientists were unable to conclusively prove that bats were the source of the virus. In 2018, out of the 19 people who tested positive for the Nipah virus, 17 succumbed to the disease. Though there was speculation that the virus had spread through fruit bats then, scientists were unable to confirm this at the time. Kerala reported a case of Nipah virus in 2019 from Ernakulam. The source of the virus was not identified on that occasion as well.