GUWAHATI: According to a recent study, bats in Northeast’s Nagaland may carry filoviruses, a group of viruses that includes Ebola and Marburg viruses.
It is assumed that people who hunt them are at the risk of contracting deadly diseases.
This report came out after an analysis of blood serum samples from bats hunted by the people of Nagaland’s Mimi village, by the researches Ian Mendenhall from Singapore as well as Pilot Dovih and Uma Ramakrishnan from Bangalore’s National Centre for Biological Sciences.
The results of the study were published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases on Thursday night.
It revealed that some bats, sampled in the study might have been exposed to filoviruses as they found antibodies (proteins reactive to specific parts of an infective agent) in the serum taken from the bats.
The result given by the researchers says that “In the Northeast Indian state of Nagaland, local ethnic groups have conducted bat harvests for at least seven generations as a source of food and traditional medicine. These bat hunters are exposed to saliva, blood, and excreta from the bat species Rousettus leschenaultii and Eonycteris spelaea.”
The study directs that better community-based monitoring of bats is required in specific regions to prevent any epidemic outbreak in the near future.
The researchers said that five out of the 85 human serum samples taken from the villagers contained antibodies. This means that there was evidence of an immune reaction against three different filoviruses.
However, one of the researchers, Mendenhall, warned that any increase in bat-human contact could increase the risk of an infectious disease crossing over to humans.
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