monitoring fruit bat

Monitoring Fruit Bat Colonies Could Provide Early Warning for Nipah Outbreaks

Kadambari Deshpande, Jagdish Krishnaswamy, Abi Tamim Vanak and M. Soubadra Devy

Nature India | September 25, 2023

An outbreak of the bat-borne Nipah virus occurred in the southern Indian state of Kerala in September 2023. As state authorities scramble to control this latest outbreak, fourth in five years, questions on the pathways of transmission have resurfaced.

With each new outbreak, narrowing down on a single pathway of first exposure becomes remote. Nipah virus infections always occur in clusters and have a high rate of fatality. While fruit bats are known reservoirs of the Nipah virus, many risk factors need to overlap in time and space at a local and regional scale, for the virus to spill over into humans.