NUMEROUS flying fox bats can be seen hanging from a tree located in Thiruvananthapuram’s Thirumala. The tree is situated on a road on which many people go for a walk in the morning and evening.
Last week, when some people from the locality met for a morning walk, they began a discussion about this tree and the bats, in the wake of the confirmation of the presence of the Nipah virus (NiV) again in Kerala.
Sixty-seven-year-old Muralikrishna, a retired central government employee, pointing to the tree said, “Should we ask the authorities to cut down the tree? There are so many fruit bats, how can we walk here peacefully?”
Replying to him, retired doctor Ananthakrishna said, “Don’t be foolish, as per the World Health Organisation, if bats are stressed it might cause a spillover [virus moving from one species to another]. These birds are full of viruses, they can shed it anywhere.”
All these opinions created tension among those around them.