Nipah virus which has claimed at least nearly a dozen lives in Kerala did not spread through bats, a report has said.
The virus, which has so far claimed 11 lives in Kerala's Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, spreads through direct contact with infected bats, pigs or from other infected people.
According to an IANS report, officials said that 21 samples from bats and pigs were sent to the High Security Animal Diseases laboratory at Bhopal but all turned out to be negative.
The samples sent to Bhopal included those taken from bats found in the house of victim Moosa whose three relatives have also died due to Nipah. Health officials had sealed an unused well, believed to be the epicentre of the virus, in the compound of Moosa's house after it was found to be infested with bats.
Early this week, a team led by Central Animal Husbandry Commissioner SP Suresh had examined animals in the affected areas and said there was no incidence of Nipah virus in animals.
The authorities have decided to conduct more tests to locate the source of the spread.
According to a Union Health Ministry advisory, the Nipah virus, which commonly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses, can spread to humans and cause serious illness among humans.
Spread of the virus to humans may occur after close contact with other Nipah infected people, infected bats, or infected pigs.
Meanwhile, the Telangana government on Friday said that it has sent blood samples and throat swabs of two patients suffering from fever to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for test for the deadly infection.
Director of Medical Education Ramesh Reddy said one of the patients recently visited Kerala but not Kozhikode where the disease is prevalent. The other patient never visited Kerala in recent times.
Pudducherry, Sikkim, Bihar issue advisory
To prevent the spread of the virus, Pudducherry on Saturday issued an advisory, mentioning preventive steps to be taken in high-risk areas to check the spread of the contagious disease. The Collector said that the advisory has been issued by the hospitals to their staff and a press release has been given to them.
The hotel staff has also been directed to inform the collector office if any guest comes from Kerala, especially from Kozhikode,
Besides neighbouring Telangana and Karnataka, the Sikkim government has also issued an advisory urging the people of the state to take precaution against Nipah virus.
"Though there is a minimal possibility of Nipah virus in Sikkim, but the people need to take precaution," Sikkim health department said in an advisory.
Bihar government has also issued an advisory for the public.
UAE asks citizens not to travel to Kerala
The UAE has asked its citizens to put off unnecessary travel to Kerala. The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) in a statement said that it was closely monitoring the situation.
"The ministry works with its strategic partners to assess the risk of importation of Nipah virus (NiV) cases to the country and put the necessary control measures. Also, Mohap is in continuous coordination with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to implement the global recommendations," read the statement.
"Mohap alerts the people travelling to Kerala to be aware of possibly of contracting the infection and advises them to postpone unnecessary travel till the situation will be controlled," it added.The WHO, 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.
(With PTI inputs)