Cherthala: Dispelling any fears of Nipah virus, the Avian Disease Diagnostics Laboratory has confirmed that the bats, which were found dead at an abandoned coir godown at Kurupumkulangara near here in Alappuzha district, died of starvation. The lab, under the Animal Husbandry Department, found that stomachs of the bats were empty indicating that they didn’t have any food or water for many days. Close to 150 bats were found dead at the closed down coir godown on last Monday.
The local residents said that the door of the warehouse was ajar and the bats flew inside the building through this gap. The bats used to fly out of the warehouse by dusk and return in the morning. It is assumed that the bats died of starvation as they were trapped inside the warehouse as the door got shut due to strong winds in the area.
The Animal Husbandry department’s first conclusion was that the bats died due to lack of breathing air. As the respiratory tracks of the bats were in the advanced stages of decay, the conclusion could not be proved beyond doubt. The dead bodies of the bats, which were relatively fresh, were sent for autopsies and it was found that they were small bats of the same age. This categorically proved that the nipah virus was not the cause of death. The authorities concerned had earlier made it clear that big bats were carriers of Nipah virus and these flying mammals won’t die of this virus.