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Nipah virus may dent India's fruit exports.

Date: 24-05-2018
Subject: Nipah virus may dent India's fruit exports
A virus that attacks the human brain has killed at least 10 people in Kerala, where medical crews are scrambling to manage the spread of the deadly disease, and to minimise panic. Fruit exporters are concerned about their falling prospects in the current season.

The deadly virus is contagious and there currently is no vaccine for humans or animals. The natural host of the virus is a fruit bat of the Pteropodidae family, according to the World Health Organization. A prominent member of the species, the Greater Indian Fruit Bat, inhabits large patches of the South Asian subcontinent and may transfer the disease to humans when they consume tree fruit. 

Unfortunately for exporters, the bats are ‘generalist’ feeders, eating any fruit they can find, according to the Research Center for Biological Sciences in Madurai. “We are keeping an eye on the developments. If the situation persists, we may have to ask our agencies to do a formal assessment of whether this will hurt India's export potential,” a Commerce Ministry official said.

According to business-standard.com, fruit bats have a serious taste for all types of fruit ranging from bananas to mangoes, dates, avocados, wild dates and any type of pulpy fruit. For India, cashew nuts are the largest foreign exchange earner, with $856 million worth of exports in the last financial year. This is followed by $230 million worth of fresh or dried grapes.

Source: freshplaza.com

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