Publication date: Nov 09, 2020
The winter season every year sees the outbreak of Nipah virus that spreads from bats to humans, mainly in “Nipah belt,” which stretches along Bangladesh’s western border with India.
However, the cause and mode of transmission of the virus from bats to humans through food has been detected.
The consumption of cultivated food resources contaminated with fruit bat excreta – such as mangoes in Malaysia and date palm sap (consumed as food and juice) in Bangladesh and northeastern India – have been identified as the predominant cause of spillover to pigs and people.
Human outbreaks occur almost annually in Bangladesh from November to April and it coincides with raw date-palm-sap in the “Nipah belt”.
Incidence is low, but bats carry NiV across Bangladesh and can shed virus at any time of year, highlighting the importance of routes of transmission to the timing and location of human NiV outbreaks,” said Jonathan H. Epstein, lead author of the study.
Use protective coverings to prevent bat access to date palm sap and other fresh fruit products.