A message has been doing the rounds on social media claiming that cases of Nipah virus have been registered at the Siliguri District Hospital.
According to the message, a number of people have been admitted to the Siliguri District Hospital with a “strange sickness”. A Siliguri doctor, Dr Krishnendu Dey, is quoted as saying that Nipah is being contracted by people who have eaten litchis.
The message claims that other doctors in the hospital have also contracted the disease.
The Quint also received a query about the same message on its helpline number.
TRUE OR FALSE?
The claim is a false one. There have been no registered cases of Nipah virus in Siliguri. There is also no backing to the claim that the virus is being transmitted to humans by fruit bats via litchis.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT?
The Quint reached out to Dr Amitabha Mondal, Superintendent of Siliguri District Hospital, who confirmed that no patients have been admitted to the hospital with the virus.
The WhatsApp forward with the dubious claims has been doing the rounds since 2018, when the virus broke out in several parts the country. The message resurfaced this year post cases of Nipah being reported in Kerala.
However, this does not mean that Siliguri has not had its share of Nipah cases in the past. In fact, the first outbreak of the virus in India is traced back to this North Bengal town, which battled the virus as far back as 2001, without realising that it was the Nipah virus. According to The Hindu, about 49 people had died between January and February that year, due to the virus.
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