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Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2010 Mar;10(2):183-90. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2008.0105.

A longitudinal study of the prevalence of Nipah virus in Pteropus lylei bats in Thailand: evidence for seasonal preference in disease transmission.

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Molecular Biology Laboratory for Neurological Diseases, Department of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand.


After 12 serial Nipah virus outbreaks in humans since 1998, it has been noted that all except the initial event in Malaysia occurred during the first 5 months of the year. Increasingly higher morbidity and mortality have been observed in subsequent outbreaks in India and Bangladesh. This may have been related to different virus strains and transmission capability from bat to human without the need for an amplifying host and direct human-to-human transmission. A survey of virus strains in Pteropus lylei and seasonal preference for spillover of these viruses was completed in seven provinces of Central Thailand between May 2005 and June 2007. Nipah virus RNA sequences, which belonged to those of the Malaysian and Bangladesh strains, were detected in the urine of these bats, with the Bangladesh strain being dominant. Highest recovery of Nipah virus RNA was observed in May. Of two provincial sites where monthly surveys were done, the Bangladesh strain was almost exclusively detected during April to June. The Malaysian strain was found dispersed during December to June. Although direct contact during breeding (in December to April) was believed to be an important transmission factor, our results may not entirely support the role of breeding activities in spillage of virus. Greater virus shedding over extended periods in the case of the Malaysian strain and the highest peak of virus detection in May in the case of the Bangladesh strain when offspring started to separate may suggest that there may be responsible mechanisms other than direct contact during breeding in the same roost. Knowledge of seasonal preferences of Nipah virus shedding in P. lylei will help us to better understand the dynamics of Nipah virus transmission and have implications for disease management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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