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Antibodies against Nipah Virus in Bats

  • 22 Jun 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

A recent survey has found the presence of antibodies against the Nipah virus (NiV) in some bat species from a cave in Mahabaleshwar, a popular hill station in Maharashtra.

Key Points

  • About the Survey:
    • The NIV team looked at Rousettus leschenaultii and Pipistrellus pipistrellus bats that are common in India.
      • Pteropus medius bats, which are large fruit-eating bats, are the reservoir for NiV in India as both NiV RNA and antibodies were detected in the samples of these bats collected during previous NiV outbreaks.
    • A bat’s immune system is especially adept at withstanding viral infection because of its ability to limit excessive inflammation — which uniquely allows viruses to thrive without proving deadly to the mammal.
  • Nipah virus (NiV):
    • About:
      • It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
      • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
        • Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis that causes severe and often fatal disease in both infected horses and humans.
      • It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
      • It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
    • Transmission:
      • The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
      • The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
    • Symptoms:
      • The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.
    • Prevention:
      • Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

Source: IE

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