As luscious mango varieties like Banganapalli, Malgova, Totapuri and Sindhoora from Tamil Nadu and Kerala have flooded northeast markets, the fear of Nipah virus has started to grow.
A 23-year-old youth in Kerala’s Ernakulam has been tested positive for the deadly Nipah virus, which killed 17 people last year. The National Institute of Virology, which tested the blood samples, confirmed the presence of the virus.
While people in the northeast are ignorant about the epidemiology of the Nipah virus, the fear of fruit bats infecting the delicious mangoes from South India has started to grow.
“People are now demanding for mangoes from Bengal and Bihar,” Ram Kumar Yadav, a fruit vendor in Rukminigaon in Guwahati said, adding, “I don’t know why people don’t want to buy the mangoes from South India.”
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Yadav said mangoes from Bengal and Bihar are yet to hit the market in bulk. “If people don’t buy the mangoes from South India, we are going to suffer a major loss this season,” he said.
Amidst the fear, the Nagaland government on May 27 issued an alert, and directed its Animal Disease Monitoring and Surveillance Cell to constantly update information on the Nipah virus.
The Nagaland Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services department has also been directed to maintain tight vigil on the Nipah virus. The department has advised people not to panic, and to be aware and alert about Nipah virus.
Meanwhile, the Tripura Health Department has also issued a Nipah Virus alert after the death of five persons in a few villages of Bangladesh close to the international border.
The state government issued a notice to all District Chief Medical Officers (CMO) to stay sensitized and alert on any impending Nipah virus outbreak in Tripura.