Nipah Virus Detection at Bat Roosts after Spillover Events, Bangladesh, 2012-2019

McKee CD, Islam A, Rahman MZ, Khan SU, Rahman M, Satter SM, Islam A, Yinda CK, Epstein JH, Daszak P, Munster VJ, Hudson PJ, Plowright RK, Luby SP, Gurley ES


Knowledge of the dynamics and genetic diversity of Nipah virus circulating in bats and at the human-animal interface is limited by current sampling efforts, which produce few detections of viral RNA. We report a series of investigations at Pteropus medius bat roosts identified near the locations of human Nipah cases in Bangladesh during 2012-2019. Pooled bat urine was collected from 23 roosts; 7 roosts (30%) had >1 sample in which Nipah RNA was detected from the first visit. In subsequent visits to these 7 roosts, RNA was detected in bat urine up to 52 days after the presumed exposure of the human case-patient, although the probability of detection declined rapidly with time. These results suggest that rapidly deployed investigations of Nipah virus shedding from bat roosts near human cases could increase the success of viral sequencing compared with background surveillance and could enhance understanding of Nipah virus ecology and evolution.