KOZHIKODE: After collecting samples of blood of goats and two bats and droppings of bats for three days from Chathamangalam panchayat where the deadly Nipah virus was reported, the team from the National Institute of Virology, Pune, returned on Sunday. The team was accompanied by veterinary experts from Wayanad forest and district animal husbandry departments.
On Sunday, the NIV team collected more samples from the house premises of the 12-year-old boy who died of Nipah on September 5 and neighbouring places. These will be tested at the lab. Health Minister Veena George on Sunday said the samples of 15 more Nipah-suspected people tested negative. So far, samples of 123 people in the direct or indirect contact lists of the boy have tested negative.
A total of 257 people have been identified to have come in contact with him. Only symptomatic persons are being tested now. The team decided to continue collecting blood samples after failing to trace the exact source of the virus.
According to animal husbandry officials here, tracing the virus source becomes a major task as days go by. “We are trying to collect as many samples as possible from the boy’s house and nearby area which is surrounded by hundreds of bats. Fruit bats of Pteropodidae family, commonly known as the flying fox, are the natural carriers of Nipah. They are known to transmit the virus to other animals including pigs, dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep. Hence, we are trying to collect samples from whatever sources possible here” an official said.
Meanwhile, residents in and around the panchayat have raised concerns with the officials after spotting large groups of bats. District Collector Narasimhugari Tej Lohit Reddy has asked people to not panic as the bats do not attack people or spread the virus directly.
Source not yet clear, 15 more in contact lists of the boy who died of infection at Chathamangalam test negative