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Nipah virus mystery: Tests rule out bats as prime cause of infection

By Deepika

Tests have ruled out bats being behind the spread of the Nipah virus (NiV) that has claimed 12 lives in Kerala's Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, officials said on Friday.

image for representation only

This has been confirmed in the tests conducted at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, of the blood samples of bats caught from the well.

The blood and serum samples of 21 bats tested at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal returned negative results for the virus, officials said.

With the results showing that this virus has not come from bats, the authorities have now decided to conduct more tests to locate its source.

The Union health ministry has said the virus has not spread beyond Kerala. "The Nipah virus disease is not a major outbreak and is only a local occurrence," the government said in a statement, adding that a team of experts continued to monitor the situation.

The WHO has named Nipah as one of the eight priority diseases that could cause a global epidemic, alongside the likes of Ebola and Zika. The health body, however, has not issued any specific advice to countries that have not been affected by the Nipah but has asked them to enhance the level of preparedness.

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