NIPAH VIRUS ANTIBODIES DETECTED IN BATS IN WAYANAD
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Context: Nipah virus antibodies have been found in Pteropus bat species in 14 states and one Union Territory in India, as revealed by the ICMR's ongoing bat surveillance survey, suggesting a broadened geographical presence of the virus and raising concerns about potential nationwide outbreaks.
- The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted a bat surveillance survey and found Nipah virus (NiV) antibodies in the Pteropus bat species in 14 states and one Union Territory. This discovery indicates a wider presence of the virus and raises concerns about potential outbreaks across the country.
- Kerala, particularly districts like Kozhikode and Wayanad, is vulnerable to NiV outbreaks due to the widespread presence of fruit bats in the state. NiV antibodies were detected in bat samples from Wayanad, an extension of the same ecosystem in Kozhikode.
- Kerala is institutionalizing inter-departmental Nipah-related activities under the One Health platform. The state is establishing the Kerala One Health Centre for Nipah Research in Kozhikode to enhance prevention, treatment, and research efforts related to the Nipah virus.
- Institutions in India are working on developing indigenous monoclonal antibodies against NiV from survivors of the outbreak. This development is crucial for more effective treatment, especially considering the specific NiV strain in India differs from imported monoclonal antibodies.
- Despite experiencing multiple NiV outbreaks, there is limited scientific understanding of viral spillover events, transmission routes, and the factors contributing to the focused outbreaks in certain regions of Kerala. Climate change and changes in agriculture/vegetation patterns are noted as potential variables influencing these events.
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Monoclonal antibodies: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/monoclonal-antibodies
Q. What are the most effective strategies for controlling and preventing the outbreak of contagious diseases within densely populated urban areas, considering factors such as rapid transmission, limited healthcare resources, and diverse socioeconomic backgrounds?