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Bats in Nagaland may carry Ebola family of viruses: Study

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  • Bats in Nagaland may carry Ebola family of viruses: Study

    Bats in some parts of northeast India's Nagaland state may harbour filoviruses, a family of viruses that includes the Ebola and Marburg viruses, putting people who hunt them at the risk of contracting deadly diseases, according to a recent study.

    The researchers, including Ian Mendenhall from Singapore as well as Pilot Dovih and Uma Ramakrishnan from Bangalore's National Centre for Biological Sciences, analysed the blood serum samples from bats hunted by people in Nagaland's Mimi village.

    The results of the study, published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases on Thursday night, revealed that some bats sampled in the study may 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.

    "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 researchers wrote in the study.

    The study calls for better community-based monitoring of bats in specific regions to prevent an epidemic outbreak in the future.

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