Efforts to trace the source of the Nipah infection that claimed the life of 12-year-old Mohammed Hashim of Chathamangalam in Kozhikode district appeared to be inconclusive, even a week after his death on September 5.
Officials in the Department of Animal Husbandry said on Saturday that the body fluid samples collected from 26 goats on the premises of Hashim’s house had tested negative for the virus. Also, some of the fruit bat carcasses collected from different adjoining areas too were found to have no presence of Nipah.
K.K. Baby, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, told The Hindu that some bird droppings collected from a bat habitat across a river nearby a property owned by Vayoli Aboobacker, Hisham’s father, too had turned out to give negative results. This bat habitat is diagonally opposite to a rambutan tree on the property.
The samples were collected after the boy’s parents, relatives and neighbours informed an expert team that he had eaten rambutan fruit days before his death and that bats had been present in the area. Some of the goats too were reportedly unwell. Fruit bats are the natural carriers of the Nipah virus.
Officials said the samples of rambutan fruits collected from the premises would be sent to another lab as the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, does not have facility to test them. A National Institute of Virology (NIV) team is right now collecting samples from the area.
Meanwhile, more people on the contact list of Hashim are reporting negative for the virus. The results of 20 were made available on Saturday. Eighteen of them were tested at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, and two at the NIV lab in Pune. Fifteen other samples had given similar results on Friday. So far 108 samples have tested negative for the virus.