An atmosphere of fear was created among the students and the staff of Himachal Pradesh’s Nahan district government school after the authorities found the bodies of dozens of bat inside the school bus. The incident comes at a time when deadly Nipah virus has killed 13 people residing in Kerela this week. According to a report, soon after the dead bats were spotted, the school authorities immediately dialed the health ministry officials, who came and collected samples of the dead bats and also educated the teachers and students about Nipah virus, its causes, preventions and precautions.
According to local officials, these bats come every year and they die as well, but this year their numbers were comparatively high.
Speaking to media, an official from Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reportedly said, that a central health team has been directed to constantly review the situation in the wake of deaths due to the deadly Nipah virus in Kerala. The official also claimed that the team also met the doctors working at government and private medical centers in an attempt to create awareness and warn them about the menace and its dispel fears. “It made an effort to create awareness and allay any fears in the minds of the people about the disease”, the health ministry said in a statement.
The team also devised draft guidelines, case definitions, advisory for healthcare workers, information to the general public, advisories for sample collection and transportation and a brief on the Nipah virus disease, the statement added.
Moreover, a part of the team headed by the Director of National Centre for Disease Control, Dr. S K Singh, also paid a visit to Malappuram district along with the state health minister and interacted with the general public.
Notably, this virus is transmitted through contact and transfer of body fluids. So the virus can move from bats to other hosts through fruit or tree sap contaminated with bat saliva or excreta. A person can contract the Nipah virus either by coming into contact with contaminated bat saliva or excreta on fruit or trees or by handling other animal hosts like infected pigs. A person can also get Nipah from another infected person. The virus has an incubation period of between 5 and 14 days after which the person starts to exhibit symptoms of infection.