KOZHIKODE: Even as speculation is rife about the source of the Nipah virus outbreak, officials of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) are firm on their earlier assessment fruit bats had transmitted the virus. The results of the test samples will further validate this assessment, they believe.
“It has been scientifically established fruit bats are carriers of Nipah virus. The test results will only prove it further. Even if the samples turn negative, it does not invalidate the fact. The reason being that only a small per cent of fruit bats carry the virus,” said NCDC joint director M K Shoukath Ali.
Earlier, the NCDC team helped the state government in evolving guidelines on containing the virus, conducted investigations and prepared a Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) to deal with the virus spread.
A second delegation of experts from NCDC are now at Perambra to study more about the disease spread. The assistance of NCDC is also being sought in tracing suspected cases and their continued surveillance.
“For effective containment, it should be ensured that those in the suspect list avoid travel and public functions,” Shoukath Ali added.
According to NCDC officers, the situation on the ground is fairly under control. “The rate of new cases being reported has come down drastically. This itself shows the situation is under control,” Shoukath Ali added. Meanwhile, the samples of fruit bats had not yet been collected for testing. Along with the officers of Animal Husbandry Department, experts from National Institute of Virology (Niv), Pune, and personnel from the Forest Department are present to collect the samples.
“Due to heavy rain over the past few days, the collection of samples from fruit bats was not possible. We expect to complete the process by Tuesday,” said Dr N N Sasi, Director, Animal Husbandry Department.
According to him, collecting the sample from infected bats was a highly risky proposition due to chances of virus spreading to people trying to catch them. “The samples will be sent to the lab at National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal. The results will be out in 48 hours,” he added.