Editorial

Harmful diets

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 11/2/2019 12:13:59 PM IST

While there is no hard evidence of any outbreak of the dreaded Ebola and Marbug virus, yet the report by a team of international scientists including from Bangalore’s National Centre for Biological Sciences, which stated that Nagaland state may harbour filoviruses- a family of viruses that includes the Ebola and Marburg viruses- is a grave. The report follows a study on the bat hunting tradition practised by a tribe clan living in Mimi village under Kiphire district in Nagaland. The blood sera samples of bats and humans were analysed to find antibodies that are reactive to filoviruses, which indicate previous exposure to these viruses. In the annual ritual, anywhere between 7,000 to 25,000 bats are suffocated or killed for meat. According to reports, the particular clan believes that the bats have medicinal properties and can cure diseases like diarrhoea and body ache, and increase vigour. However, this ancient belief about the curative medicinal properties has been demolished by a new study has shown that these bats, rather than being a cure to diseases, carry deadly filoviruses that could infect humans. This would put people who hunt them at the risk of contracting deadly diseases. Filoviruses are non-segmented negative strand RNA viruses that cause severe hemorrhagic fever in humans and non-human primates. They are among the most dangerous human pathogens or infectious agents known, causing highly fatal hemorrhagic fevers; some strains of Ebolavirus cause death in 50 to 90 percent of victims. Ebola and Marburg viruses are known to cause severe hemorrhagic fevers which affects many organs and damages the blood vessels, killing more than 50 per cent of people they infect. Filoviruses are zoonotic, that is, transmitted to humans from ongoing life cycles in animals other than humans. Despite numerous attempts to locate the natural reservoir or reservoirs of Ebolavirus and Marburgvirus species, their origins were undetermined until recently when Marburgvirus and Ebolavirus were detected in fruit bats. Once a human is infected, however, person-to-person transmission is the means by which further infections occur. Specifically, transmission involves close personal contact between an infected individual or their body fluids, and another person. During recorded outbreaks of hemorrhagic fever caused by a Filovirus infection, persons who cared for (fed, washed, medicated) or worked very closely with infected individuals were especially at risk of becoming infected themselves. In addition to the deadly Ebolavirus and Marbugvirus, another virus called Nipah virus is also another deadly virus that is transmitted by megabats or flying foxes. Nipah virus, is believed to be transmitted from what are called flying foxes, or mega bats, so called because they are the largest bat species. They eat fruits and live in trees. These are a part of the old-world fruit bat family, called pteropid bats. Bats often end up being reservoirs for a number of severe infectious diseases, including Ebola, SARS coronavirus, Nipah and Hendra. The virus- Kampung Sungai Nipah- was named after a village in Malaysia, where it was first discovered in 1998-99. Japanese encephalitis (JE) which, like the Nipah virus, induces brain inflammation. The report is also revealing since dietary habits or traditional beliefs about the medicinal value of some food items need to be relooked through the prism of modern scientific studies.
 

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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