The Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) on Friday said the recent sudden mass mortality of bats in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh seems to have been caused due to heatstroke.
Investigations carried out on the samples of the carcases and swabs of the dead mammals have negated coronavirus as the reason behind their sudden deaths.
“Prima-facie it appears the mass mortality of bats has caused due to brain haemorrhage, caused by excessive heat,” IVRI Director R K Singh told Xinhua in a telephonic interview. “The samples have been found COVID-19 negative and further investigation is underway.”
Earlier this week dozens of bats were found dead in the state’s Belghat area of Gorakhpur district, which triggered panic among locals.
According to Singh, no traces of the coronavirus or rabies were found in the dead bats.
“It is internationally accepted that bats have high immunity level and are not affected by any pathogen – virus or bacteria – though they can be carriers of the virus,” he said. “In the samples, we have not found any virus or bacteria load that could be the reason for their deaths.”
Uttar Pradesh earlier this week witnessed a heatwave and the temperature was recorded above 44 degree Celsius in Gorakhpur.
In the neighbouring state of Bihar over 200 carcases of the flying mammals were also found.
The bat deaths have come at a time when India is in the grip of COVID-19 pandemic.